Venezuela is to go to the polls in December in an election to choose a new president, national congress, state and local representatives.
GROUND TO AIR SHOT: balloons lifting party hand symbol into air (2 shots)
LV: people walking to rally, waving banners and chanting. (5 shots)
SV: Movement Towards Socialism party leader, Senor Jose Vincente Rangel, waving to crowd. (3 shots)
SV AND CU: Senor Rangel speaking to crowd. (2 shots)
GV: crowd cheer and applaud.
The election campaign was officially launched in April. Those elected will take office in March next year and serve for five years. Venezuela is the largest petroleum producer in Latin America and the country with one of the highest per capita incomes. Although dictators have ruled Venezuela for most of its history, the democratic process is now functioning smoothly. The present administration faces no threat from the military, which is working to ensure the elections are carried out in an orderly manner. The present president of Venezuela is Senor Carlos Andre Perez, but under the constitution he cannot return to the presidency for 10 years. About six million people are eligible to vote in the elections.
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Background: Venezuela is to go to the polls in December in an election to choose a new president, national congress, state and local representatives. On Thursday (25 May) the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) held its first major election rally in the capital, Caracas.
SYNOPSIS: The MAS is one of several parties of the left which are contesting the December election and is widely regarded as the most likely to secure a significant share of the vote. In the 1973 elections, when it ran for the first time, the party took 4.2 per cent of the poll.
This election will be the fifth in Venezuela since the country's last dictator, General Marcus Perez Jiminez, was ousted by a military-civil revolt in 1958. Venezuela is one of the few South American nations which has regular, democratic elections.
Most campaign energy is being directed toward the election of the presidential candidates. Senor Jose Vincente Rangel is the choice of the MAS. The ruling Democratic Action Party are expected to face a tough test at the polls, but not, say observers, from the MAS.
Signor Rangel promises a socialist democracy for Venezuela if his party wins, but observers say the main challenge to government candidate Senor Luis Pinerus Ordaz comes fro the chief opposition party, the Social Christians, under the leadership of Senor Luis Herrera Campins. Observers say the government will have a tough battle to regain the presidency, despite initiating the most ambitious development programme in the nation's history. Many Venezuelans blame the present government for poor public services and rising prices.