Venezuela's opposition parties have unanimously agreed that governor of Miranda state, Henrique Capriles will run in an upcoming presidential election following the death of Hugo Chavez, party sources said on Wednesday.
Capriles, 40, lost to Chavez in an election last October, and will face off against Chavez's preferred successor, Nicolas Maduro.
“The candidate is Capriles. The Unity Table (which unifies the opposition) will wait until after the funeral of Chavez and the calling of elections to make the official announcement. He has already accepted”, said sources from the national assembly.
Venezuela’s National Electoral Council has not yet announced new elections but the interim government already anticipated that Vice-president and acting president Nicolas Maduro will be the incumbent candidate, as the deceased leader has established.
Capriles challenged Chavez in last October presidential election but despite losing by eleven percentage points, managed the support from 6.5 million votes, the highest ever for the opposition.
Recent opinion polls before the death of Chavez showed that in the event of a presidential dispute between Maduro and Capriles, the anointed successor of the Bolivarian revolution would win by 14 points difference.
Under the current Venezuelan constitution states that in the 30 days following an ‘absolute absence’ of the elected president, new elections will be held to choose his successor.
Earlier in the week and before the announcement of Chavez death the Venezuelan government admitted it was tracking Capriles who was in a family visit to New York.
“We have him closely monitored” Maduro said on Saturday of Capriles.
“I have all the data, exactly where he is in Manhattan, in New York, at this moment” Maduro said on government-run television, looking at his cell-one as if checking information sent to him in a text message or an e-mail.
He said Capriles owned an apartment on East 85th Street and was staying there. “Let him deny it” Maduro said. “What did he buy an apartment in New York with?”
In a telephone call Sunday night from New York, Mr. Capriles said he did not own an apartment there.
“Every time I leave Venezuela, the government tries to turn it into a conspiracy,” he said, adding that he was in New York to visit his sister and her family, who live in the East Side high-rise. “It seems ridiculous to me, with all the problems that there are in Venezuela, that this is what the government is talking about”.