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Venezuela election set

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Opposition leader Henrique Capriles must make what could be the most important decision of his political life, now that Venezuela's elections commission has called an April 14 vote to pick a successor to the late Hugo Chavez.

The 40-year-old state governor is expected to announce on Sunday whether he will run against Chavez's hand-picked successor, who's a heavy favorite amid lingering sympathy for the charismatic president.

The stakes are high: A defeat for Capriles just six months after he lost the presidential vote to Chavez would likely finish his political career. If he waits, a Chavista government might prove inept and give him a better shot in a later election.

On a personal Twitter page that bore all the rah-rah adornments of a campaign site, Capriles wrote Saturday afternoon: "I am analyzing the declaration of the (electoral commission setting the date) and in the next hours I will talk to the country about my decision."

Whoever the opposition runs, analysts say the election is the government's to lose. They also predict the next five weeks will up the nasty, heated rhetoric that began even before Chavez's death Tuesday after a nearly two-year fight with cancer.

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