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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Venezuela: Chavez leading in election polls

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds a wide margin over his main challenger as he seeks a third term in Dec. 3 elections, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that also revealed many government opponents are worried they could face reprisals for how they vote.

About 59 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Chavez for a third term, while 27 percent said they would support opposition candidate Manuel Rosales. Thirteen percent of those surveyed by the polling firm Ipsos for The Associated Press said they were undecided or wouldn't answer.

Since Chavez was first elected in 1998, the leftist president has become perhaps Latin America's most controversial leader while gaining notoriety worldwide as an outspoken critic of the US government and an ally of Iran.

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