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Venezuelan Opposition -with unified lineup of political prisoners running as candidates- will try to win Congress control.

Anti Chavez Leader Manuel Rosales is in exile, but will be candidate anyway

CARACAS, Venezuela – Foes of President Hugo Chavez have largely put their differences aside and come up with a unified lineup of candidates, hoping to win control of a congress that has done the socialist leader’s bidding for years.

Pro-democracy activists, jailed government opponents, journalists, businessmen and union leaders are among the diverse cast of opposition candidates who hope to increase their influence in the Sept. 26 voting for 165 seats in the National Assembly.

The legislature has been dominated by Chavez supporters since opposition parties boycotted the last congressional elections in 2005, alleging irregularities in the run-up to the ballot.

This time a coalition of anti-Chavez groups reached agreements on 143 candidates to represent the opposition and then held primaries last weekend to pick the remaining 22 slots in their election slate.

It’s still possible some government foes not included on the coalition’s list could run independently, potentially splitting the opposition vote in several districts. But analysts don’t expect many Chavez opponents to break ranks because they would run the risk of being ostracized by like-minded allies.

Chavez has recently seen his popularity slip amid a recession, 26 percent inflation and widespread crime. But polls indicate he remains the country’s most popular politician, and opponents say he…READ MORE HERE

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