Venezuelan opposition goes to the polls to choose a candidate against Chávez
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Venezuelan opposition goes to the polls to choose a candidate against Chávez

Caracas : Venezuela | Feb 11, 2012 at 1:32 AM PST
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Partidos opposition in Venezuela will face off Sunday in primary elections to choose the candidate who will face President Hugo Chavez in the presidential elections in October.

The favorite in the polls is the current governor of Miranda State, Henrique Capriles Radonski.Durante the campaign in an attempt to break with the past that links to the right conservative Venezuelan Capriles Radonski, 39, struggled to adopt a language popular, promised to carry on social programs and supports the current government "model Lula" as the path to follow.

"It is not the time nor the right nor the left. It's time for progress, we are progressive," he said.

The unprecedented nature and inter-party, the primaries are seen as the only way out of the Venezuelan opposition to Chavez to join forces and face - with a possibility of contention - in presidential elections.

Analysts say that by diluting the opposition election among several candidates, the advantage of Chavez - who has more than 50% of the vote - is increased even more. "Primaries represent the most important effort that the opposition has done to get to confront democratic and vote the president, "he told BBC Brazil Farith Fraija political analyst, director of consultancy display 360.

Conquest of 'chavisConquista the' Chavistas light'A opposition campaign was marked by two different styles of stand against the president: the de-politicization and confrontation

The first style was adopted by the two main competitors, Capriles Radonski, who focuses his speech on "progress", and to a lesser degree, by Pablo Perez, governor of Zulia state oil - the most populous country - which focuses on combating the "insecurity".By avoiding frontal attacks against Chavez and his socialist project, and Perez Capriles try to capture votes of the "chavismo light" Chavistas or disappointed with the current administration.

"The political polarization Chavez benefits and does not generate votes for the opposition. Capriles Radonski is an example of this," he told BBC Brazil political analyst Carlos Romero, a professor at Central University of Venezuela.

"Chávez proposes the path of socialism, I suggest the way forward," says Capriles Radonski.

According to research, the application of Capriles Radonski gained even more strength after the young candidate Leopoldo Lopez also decided to abandon the race to support the governor.

Second best place in the race, Pablo Perez, 42, has the political apparatus of the traditional party Accion Democratica (AD) - the main opposition force in the National Assembly - as an engine to garner votes across the country. According to analysts, Perez made a campaign "traditional" and struggled to score an alternate profile.

At the other pole - the confrontation - appear to Mrs Maria Corina Machado, who proposes a model of "popular capitalism", and former Ambassador Diego Arria, who promised to take Chavez to court in The Hague. The final list is a former ally of Chavez, Pablo Medina.

Plan governoA Despite the difference in tone and style, the opposition coalition is committed to applying the same level of government against the so-called Bolivarian socialism.

The proposal, among other things, provides for increasing private participation in oil exploration in the country, returning land to former owners expropriated for agrarian reform - about 5 million hectares, according to official figures - and to review diplomatic relations with Cuba.

For the director of consultancy display 360, the opposition to resume the implementation of a neoliberal economic model, but avoids using the term, which in his opinion is rejected by the majority of the population.

"The fact that the leading candidates to try to emulate Chavez is an indication that the Venezuelan voters will not accept a candidate to propose a neoliberal agenda," said Farith.

The transformation of economic and political architecture of the country, implemented during the 13 years of Chavez administration, would not be easy for the opposition and possible changes in the 1999 Constitution, opined Farith. "If something this government has been engaged to create a set institutions to enable their national project, "he added.

Democratic game

In assessing the political analyst Carlos Romero, the primary opposition also favor the government. "It's important because the government can show that Venezuela is a democratic game and even more important because it allowed the opposition to the reunion of opposing political leaders who had lost faith in the possibility to compete with Chavez." There are at least five years the opposition Venezuela tries to shut down the stigma of "coup" that marks the careers of top managers who participate in primaries Sunday.

Capriles Radonski, Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado were activists during the coup d'etat against Chavez in April 2002.

Capriles Radonski, then mayor, was imprisoned for four months on charges of hacking into the Cuban Embassy in Caracas during the coup, in search of members of the presidential office.

The current governor of Zulia, Pablo Perez, is also seen as the main ally of former Governor Manuel Rosales, who went into exile in Peru after being accused by Venezuelan justice for corruption.

Rosales served as representative of the governors of the opposition to Chavez during the coup failed.

The opposition Alliance estimates that nearly 1 million voters participate in primaries, which are organized by the National Electoral Council.

babar42 is based in Karāchi, Sind, Pakistan, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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