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Venezuelans vote for Chavez successor

[ 2013-04-16 10:57]     字号 [] [] []  
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In Venezuela, polls are closing in the presidential election to replace the late Hugo Chavez. Voters are choosing between Chavez's handpicked successor, who has vowed to continue the country's socialist policies, or Henrique Capriles, who favors more private-market friendly policies. The first official results are expected late Sunday.

Early on this election day the voting lines were shorter than expected in some parts of Caracas. Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the popular Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer last month, is counting on a high turnout by the poor to continue the Socialist Party's rule in Venezuela.

Acting President Maduro has casting himself as his mentor's "son" during the campaign, and has promised to continue oil-funded policies that cut poverty from 50 to 29 percent with popular health, education and food programs.

Maria Ortega said she voted for Maduro because that is what President Chavez wanted.

She said Venezuelans have a lot of faith and confidence in Maduro, and if Chavez put him there it was for a reason. She adds he did it with all his heart and voters must go with their hearts to support the legacy of Hugo Chavez.

Maduro is favored, but polls have showed challenger Henrique Capriles gaining in the past week.

Many voters say they are frustrated with the stagnant economy, the double-digit inflation, chronic power outages, and shortages of food and medicine. The soaring crime rate is also a major issue for voters. Venezuela has among the world's highest homicide and kidnapping rates.

Capriles Supporter Joselyn Fernandez said she was thinking about her young niece when she voted.

She said she does not want her to live in a dictatorship, she is just starting life. Fernandez said she wants her niece to live and have a good life, so that she can go out on the street with a sense of security and get a good education.

The opposition has complained that Maduro has used the state bureaucracy of nearly 2.7-million workers and government-owned media to unfairly support his campaign. But the voting process in Venezuela is generally considered fair and impartial.

Election official Juan Martinez said witnesses or observers from each party are on hand at polling stations to make sure there is no voter fraud.

He said the witness, that is who the observers are, is looking to see that voters show the official identification and that it is not a copy or some other paper.

Nearly 19-million people across the country are eligible to vote.

Whoever wins will inherit a politically polarized country, but also the control of the biggest oil reserves in an OPEC nation. Left-leaning Latin American governments from Cuba to Bolivia are also watching this election closely to see if the generous economic aid provided by President Chavez will continue.


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(来源:VOA 编辑:Julie)