The Next Chávez

Acting Prez Leads Race to Head Venezuela

Polls began closing in Venezuela on Sunday night after voters lined up to decide who will suceed Hugo Chávez as their nation’s leader. Acting president Nicolas Maduro enjoyed a double-digit lead in many early polls, thanks to the public blessing of Chávez before he died, but the race has narrowed to as little as seven percentage points, according to one new poll. Maduro is promising to deepen Chávez’s “21st-century socialism” ideals. His opponent, the decade-younger Henrique Capriles, is running on a more centrist platform. But can he defeat the man Chávez named as his successor—“my opinion, clear like the full moon, irreversible”—in his final speech to Venezuelans?