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EFE; CLARIN (Argentina); LA TERCERA (Chile); EL UNIVERSAL, TELESUR (Venezuela)

Worldcrunch

CARACAS - Campaigns have officially closed in Venezuela ahead of Sunday’s election showdown between the heir to Hugo Chavez’s legacy, Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Just five months after reelecting Chavez, the country is being called back to the polls following the death of El Comandante in March. Protests sprung up across the oil rich country during the final week of campaigning, which was required to halt by end of day on Thursday, reports Chilean daily La Tercera.

Polls predict a comfortable win for Maduro, who played to the lingering memories of Chavez, and called upon some famous faces for some last-minute campaigning, including Argentinian soccer superstar, Diego Maradona, writes Clarin.

Capriles was defeated in the October 2012 election against Chavez by some 10%. According to El Universal, Maduro sent a warning to his opponent on Thursday night, saying that should Capriles dare to ignore the results of the election, he will have the same fate as an ex-President who is now in exile in Colombia. “Now he’s toying with the idea of a coup,” Maduro said of his opponent during a visit to pay homage to Chavez.

In terms of electoral promises, writes TeleSur, Maduro declared that he will fulfill Chavez’s legacy, and “rebuild the spiritual fabric of the country.”

Meanwhile, Capriles is the change candidate, says EFE. “On Monday there will be a new Venezuela. On Monday we will embrace the future, one of hope,” said Capriles, who reminded the people during his campaign that Maduro is not Chavez.

This election has generated some rising tension both in Venezuela, and surrounding countries. With its flow of oil revenue, Caracas aids its neighbors financially and after 14 years of chavismo, this could lead to a social breakdown in the region.

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