Following Venezuelan leader’s death on March 5 after a long battle with cancer, the country’s electoral commission has announced that the presidential election to name his successor will take place on April 14.
The campaigning period will go from April 2 to April 11, the electoral commission also said.
In the meantime Nicolas Maduro, Mr Chavez’s favoured successor has been appointed acting president.
While Mr Maduro will run as the governing party candidate, Henrique Capriles is expected to stand for the opposition.
Mr Capriles lost last October’s election against Mr Chavez, who won 54% of the vote, and Mr Capriles won 44%. However this was the opposition’s best result ever against the late president.
When his health worsened, Mr Chavez announced that his vice-president Mr Maduro should succeed him.
Mr Maduro, 50, said he will carry on the leftist policies of the man who led the country for 14 years, and he was shown as the favourite to win the next election by opinion polls.
According to Tibisay Lucena, the head of the electoral commission, the candidates have to register for the race by Monday.
This announcement was followed by another from the head of the opposition coalition who officially proposed Mr Capriles, 40, as their presidential candidate.
After tweeting that he was grateful to be chosen, Mr Capriles, a lawyer by training who is governor of the state of Miranda, said he was analysing the statement from the commission.
“In the following hours I will give my decision,” he said.
Mr Capriles, who describes his policies as centrist and humanist, says he takes his political inspiration from former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who courted businesses and investors while also developing social programmes.
Under the constitution
Arguing that it was unconstitutional, the opposition boycotted Mr Maduro’s swearing-in on Friday.
The move was called fraudulent by Mr Capriles.
According to the opposition, under the constitution the one to take over as acting president should be the speaker of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello.
They also say that the constitution states that the election should be held within 30 days of Mr Chavez’s death. The date picked is more than a month after the President’s death.
In the meantime on Satuday Acting President Madura held one of his first diplomatic appointments consisting of a private meeting with the Chinese delegation that had come to attend Friday’s state funeral.
Mr Madura told the delegation that China “can count with the Bolivarian government, with the people of Venezuela to deepen the strategic alliance that our two countries have”.
He later visited, accompanied by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, the military academy where Mr Chavez is lying in state.
On Wednesday hundreds of thousands of people swarmed the streets of Caracas, cheering and crying as Mr Chavez’s coffin slowly made his way to the academy.
The former leader’s body will be embalmed “like Lenin and Mao Zedong” and will rest in a glass casket “for eternity”, Mr Maduro has announced.
The move has been decried by some Venezuelans who believe that it goes against their late president’s wish to be buried.