“The governor of Miranda state, a centrist who sees Brazil’s mix of economic and social policies as the model to follow, is the overwhelming favorite to represent the opposition Democratic Unity coalition in an election following Chavez’s death from cancer.
He will face Chavez’s preferred successor, Nicolas Maduro.
If beating Chavez – whose legendary charisma, connection with the poor and oil-financed state resources made him near-invincible – was a Herculean challenge, defeating his anointed heir in a highly emotional atmosphere may be just as hard.
Some are even comparing Chavez’s death with the passing of Eva Peron, Argentina’s adored first lady whose 1952 death reverberates and still influences politics decades later.
Capriles, a lean and sports-loving lawyer who is a regular at Caracas half-marathons, won a creditable 44 percent of the vote last year, the opposition’s best showing against Chavez in a presidential vote.