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Venezuela opposition leader Capriles to contest election

Caracas, Mar 11 (): Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles has confirmed on Sunday that he will be the opposition coalition’s candidate in Venezuela’s upcoming presidential election.

Capriles, a 40-year-old governor of Venezuela’s biggest state Miranda, will face the acting president Nicolás Maduro in the elections. The pair have time until Monday to register their candidacies for the 14th April vote.

Capriles is a lawyer by training and he describes his policies as “centrist” and “humanist”. Experts say the stage is now all set for a bitter presidential campaign.

Capriles has challenged the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s candidate, Nicolas Maduro, who is the acting president after the death of Chavez. He has said that he would fight with him.

In a televised address on Sunday, Nicolas Maduro accused Henrique Capriles of provoking hatred, and said he was trying to incite violence by insulting the image of late president.

Previously, Capriles has denounced the ruling of the Supreme Court to allow Maduro to be sworn in as acting president and run for president without leaving his office as a constitutional fraud. But, the court argued that its verdict was made based on Article 233 of the Constitution, saying: “The executive vice president becomes acting president and ceases his previous post.”

Maduro has vowed to carry out the duties where Chávez has left off and ratify his policy platform, and acknowledged he has a lot to do for the country’s economy.

On Saturday, Maduro had his first official meeting with the Chinese officials, whom Chávez courted to provide an alternative to investment that traditionally came from the United States.

In the meantime, the body of the late President Hugo Chavez is still lying in the military academy of the state in the capital Caracas. Millions of Venezuelans have paid respects to their past leader. Maduro said the former leader’s body will be embalmed “like Lenin and Mao Zedong”.