Opposition candidates in Venezuela are seeking to take advantage of voter discontent with rising crime and 30 percent inflation to limit President Hugo Chavez’s power in congressional elections today.Who does this sound like to you?
The parliamentary race, a gauge of popular support for Chavez ahead of 2012 presidential elections, has energized anti- government forces whose boycott of the 2005 race handed the socialist firebrand near-absolute control of the unicameral legislature. This time, opposition candidates nationwide are united under a single banner called the Democratic Unity Table.
The opposition wants to prevent Chavez from winning 110 of 165 legislative seats needed to be given decree powers, approve the national budget and pass new laws without negotiations. Attention will be focused on the outcome of the popular vote, which several pollsters say is too close to call.
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