Venezuelans vote for president in country’s crucial poll

Sunday, October 07, 2012
Venezuela poll is seen as crucial fight
between Incumbent President Hugo
Chavez (left) and his rival Henrique
Capriles (right) [gfx©]
Caracas: Even if the opinion polls have suggested that incumbent president Hugo Chavez will be re-elected with reduced majority, voters in Venezuela will get a chance to cast their votes as polls open on Sunday, they will decide the fate of the nation situated in the northern coast of South America.   

Venezuelans election is predicted what to be the country’s crucial contested presidential election in a decade.
First elected in 1998, left wing politician Hugo Chavez is being challenged by opposition leader Henrique Capriles for whom the recent opinion poll has suggested that he has a genuine chance of winning.

With Venezuela sitting on the world's largest oil reserves and Chávez a leading figure in the resurgence of the political left in Latin America, the vote will have an impact on the global economy, energy supplies and regional geopolitics.

If Chavez wins a new six-year term, he gets a free hand to push for an even bigger state role in the economy, further limit dissent and continue to befriend rivals of the United States.

If Capriles manage to win, a radical foreign policy shift can be expected along with an eventual loosening of state economic controls and an increase in private investment.

About 19 million Venezuelans are eligible to vote in the election and almost all are in the ambiguity what might happen if the disputes erupt over the election’s announced outcome.

Chavez - who is seeking a fourth term in office, was diagnosed with cancer last year held an impromptu news conference on Saturday night, and when asked about the possibility of disputes over the vote, he said he expected both sides to accept the result.

Mr Capriles says a lack of investment in Venezuela's crucial oil industry has led to a decline in production.
Both candidates have been using social media to urge voters to cast their ballots.

Almost 140,000 soldiers will be deployed to guard more than 10,000 voting centres.

The sale of alcohol is banned from Saturday evening to Monday evening, and only the security forces will be allowed to carry arms.

National Electoral Council (NEC) official Socorro Hernandez called on all parties and non-governmental groups to contribute to a peaceful election "and avoid any distortions".

Polls are scheduled to close at 18:00 local time (22:30 GMT), NEC President Tibisay Lucena has uttered that the hours could be extended if voters were still queuing to cast their ballots.

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