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With Chavez stricken, elections become crucial

December 15, 2012 • World News


A banner that reads in Spanish “Now more than ever with Chavez” on a street pole in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Hugo Chavez’s cancer has upended politics in Venezuela, transforming Sunday’s nationwide elections for state governors and legislators into a test of his legacy that could chart the country’s future in the uncertain months ahead. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Hugo Chavez’s cancer has upended politics in Venezuela, transforming Sunday’s nationwide elections for state governors and legislators into a test of his legacy that could chart the country’s future in the uncertain months ahead.

For the first time in his nearly 14 years in power, the charismatic, voluble Venezuelan president has been unable to actively participate in such a campaign.

The question now hovering over the vote: Will his illness help or hurt the ruling apparatus he has built almost singlehandedly and strengthen his leftist agenda?

If Chavez’s camp can maintain dominance in the country’s 23 governorships, all but eight of which it holds, it can forge ahead with plans to solidify his “socialist revolution” by fortifying grass-roots citizen councils that are directly funded by the central government.

Chavez’s backers have framed the election as a referendum on his legacy, angling for the sympathy vote.

For the opposition, the elections are apt to determine the fate of its leadership. The most pivotal Login to read more

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