Hugo Chavez Registers for Venezuela’s Election

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has registered to run for a third term in October’s election.

He joined thousands of supporters outside the electoral office in Caracas. in his biggest rally since being diagnosed with cancer a year ago. In apparent good health, Mr Chavez sang and danced in front of the crowd, promising to fight and win. Mr Chavez will face former state governor Henrique Capriles, who registered his candidacy on Sunday.

Mr Chavez’s close advisers had promised a show of force by the 57-year-old president, who has made few public appearances since returning from treatment in Cuba a month ago.He arrived at the electoral headquarters on top of a truck, wearing the national colours and waving to supporters along the streets of the capital.

“I give this to you with a promise to fight, to battle, and of course to win,” Mr Chavez said as he registered.

“It has been a difficult year. I thank God for this life.”

Addressing the crowd outside the building, he said: “We have been the victims of a psychological war, with people announcing my death several times when I was in Cuba.”

On Saturday, President Chavez said recent examinations showed he was now healthy and fit to run for another six-year term in the 7 October poll.

‘No-one’s enemy’

Most opinion polls give Mr Chavez a wide lead over opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, but many voters still remain undecided.

Mr Capriles is seen as the first real challenge to Mr Chavez who was first elected to the presidency in 1999.

Mr Capriles registered on Sunday as the representative of a coalition of more than 30 parties.

After leading a march through the streets of Caracas, the 39-year-old politician vowed to fight crime, root out corruption and boost the economy.

Mr Capriles, who last week stepped down as governor of Miranda state to run for president, criticised the left-wing policies of Mr Chavez.

He promised to follow the example of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, offering a balance of social programmes and pro-business policies.

“I aspire to become the president of all Venezuelans. I won’t let them down,” said Mr Capriles.

“I am not the enemy of anyone, I am the enemy of the problems, of the violence, I am the enemy of a country whose government prevents us from going forward.

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