After 13 years in office, President Hugo Chávez is seeking re-election. He faces perhaps his strongest contender yet, Henrique Capriles Radonski, the 39-year-old candidate of the opposition’s Democratic Unity coalition and former governor of Miranda state. At the same time, questions remain about the president’s health and the evenness of the electoral playing field.
According to Venezuelan polling firm Consultores 21, voting intention figures for the month of August favor Capriles Radonski (47.7 percent) over president Hugo Chávez (45.9 percent), the first time a local survey points to the opposition candidate as the winner in the upcoming October elections.
Americas Society and the Council of the Americas held a panel to discuss the October 7 presidential elections in Venezuela. Experts analyzed popular support for the candidates and citizen demands and interests, the effect of the president’s health on the campaign, access to the media and freedom of expression, and the likely economic impact of the elections whoever wins.
• Luis Christiansen - President, Consultores 21
• Alejandro Grisanti - Head of Research and Strategy for Latin America, Barclays Capital Inc.
• Carlos Lauría - Senior Americas Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists
• David Papadopoulos - Latin America Markets Team Leader, Bloomberg News (Moderator)
Watch a video of the event here.