Venezuela's Capriles to run against socialist Chavez

By REUTERS
February 13, 2012 05:08

 
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CARACAS - Youthful state governor Henrique Capriles won Venezuela's opposition primary on Sunday, setting up a potentially close battle with the country's socialist President Hugo Chavez in an October election.

The primary ballot marked a step forward in the historically fractured opposition's decade-long attempts to oust Chavez, whose 13-year rule has galvanized the poor but divided the South American OPEC nation and spooked foreign investors.

Official results showed Capriles won 62 percent of the vote in Venezuela's first-ever opposition primary vote, easily beating out his nearest rival Pablo Perez who took 30 percent.

Perhaps as important as Capriles' victory was the opposition turnout of 2.9 million voters in the poll, considerably above what the coalition had targeted in a sign that Chavez's adversaries have improved their ability to mobilize supporters.

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