Venezuela’s presidential candidates begin race

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NICOLAS Maduro and Henrique Capriles have begun Venezuela’s presidential election race with scathing personal attacks, even as mourners still file past the body of late leader Hugo Chavez.

Mr Maduro, who was sworn in as acting president after Mr Chavez succumbed to cancer last week, is seen as the favourite to win the 14 April election.

“I am not Chavez, but I am his son,” Mr Maduro told thousands of cheering, red-clad supporters as he formally presented his candidacy to the election board yesterday.

But Mr Capriles is promising a tough fight. In a speech on Sunday, he said: “Nicolas, I’m not going to give you a free passage … you are not Chavez.”