FACTBOX-Venezuela opposition faces primaries test

Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:59pm GMT

CARACAS Aug 31 (Reuters) - Venezuela's opposition has a better chance of defeating President Hugo Chavez at next year's election than at any time during his 12-year rule but it must first pick a candidate to unite behind.

Here are some facts about the main opposition figures:


The energetic and youthful governor of Miranda, Venezuela's second most populous state, Capriles has emerged as the strongest candidate in the field ahead of internal opposition elections scheduled for Feb. 12, according to all polls.

Borrowing from Chavez's populism, Capriles, 39, won praise for his handling of last year's floods, when he waded neck-deep in water to help rescue efforts. He is known for tramping through shantytowns in jeans and T-shirt to talk to locals.

Capriles says he would emulate Brazil's "modern-left" model of economic and social policies if elected. He has been cautious to avoid any impression of capitalizing on Chavez's health problems, instead wishing him a speedy recovery in time for a fair fight next year.


Perez is governor of the oil-rich Zulia, Venezuela's most populous state. He has won the support of his predecessor in Zulia, Manuel Rosales. Rosales founded their A New Time party and was thrashed by Chavez in the 2006 election. He now lives in Peru in exile with corruption cases hanging over him.

Perez launched his candidacy in a flashy event at a Caracas hotel where he appealed for reconciliation between Chavez supporters and opponents. He also appealed to the more than half of Venezuelan homes that are led by women, and said women were vital to putting the country on the path to progress.   Continued...

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