Venezuelans troop to polling stations to choose Chavez successor
CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuelans headed to the polls on Sunday to elect Mr Hugo Chavez's successor, with his political heir, Mr Nicolas Maduro, hoping to continue his socialist revolution and rival Henrique Capriles vowing change in the divided nation.
One month after Mr Chavez died, supporters of acting President Maduro played military-style bugles to wake up people before dawn and later voters stood in lines, from the capital's hillside slums to its wealthier districts.
Riding a wave of sympathy over his mentor's death, Mr Maduro led opinion polls as he promised to continue the oil-funded policies that cut poverty from 50 per cent to 29 per cent through popular health, education and food programmes.
However, Mr Capriles hopes that discontent over the nation's soaring murder rate, chronic food shortages, high inflation and regular power outages will give him an upset victory after 14 years under Mr Chavez.