Presidential candidates Nicolas Maduro and Henrique Capriles have begun the election race with scathing personal attacks.
Mr Maduro, who was sworn in as acting President after Hugo Chavez died last week, is seen as the favourite to win Venezuela’s presidential election on 14 April, bolstered by a wave of public sympathy over Mr Chavez’s death.
Mr Chavez made it clear before his fourth and last cancer operation in December that he wanted Mr Maduro to be his Socialist Party’s candidate to succeed him if he died. But Mr Capriles is promising a tough fight.
“Nicolas, I’m not going to give you a free passage … you are not Chavez,” Mr Capriles said in a combative speech on Sunday night.