Venezuelan political parties are preparing for intense campaigning ahead of a presidential election set for April 14 to replace Hugo Chávez, the socialist leader who died last week after a long battle with cancer.
The date was announced by Venezuela’s electoral commission Saturday, one day after Chavez’s vice president and chosen successor, Nicolas Maduro, was sworn in as acting president.
Maduro is likely to face opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the governor of Miranda state. He lost to Chavez in a presidential election last October.
Capriles has denounced Friday’s inauguration of Maduro as a “constitutional fraud.”
Eighteen Latin American presidents and several other foreign leaders attended Friday’s funeral for Chávez. The United States sent a diplomatic delegation.
Chávez died Tuesday, two years after announcing his illness. His death devastated millions of mostly poor supporters who revered him for offering the promise of a better future. His death also gave renewed hope to opponents who denounced him as a dictator.