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Venezuela vote a critical test for divided nation

Source : AP
Last Updated: Sun, Oct 07, 2012 11:00 hrs

The polls are opening in Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez's crusade to transform Venezuela into a socialist state is being put to the stiffest electoral test of his nearly 14 years in power.

Chavez's challenger, Henrique Capriles, united the opposition for what has become a contest between two camps that distrust each other so deeply there are concerns about a close election result being respected.

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




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