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Venezuela Election To Replace Hugo Chavez Kicks Off

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People line up to cast their vote at the Andres Bello polling station, in Caracas on April 14, 2013. Credit; AFP PHOTO / LUIS ACOSTA | Getty

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Trucks blaring bugle calls have awoken Venezuelans long before dawn in a traditional election day get-out-the-vote tactic by the governing socialists.

For Sunday's special election to replace the late President Hugo Chavez the trucks were also playing something new as they began their rounds at 3 a.m. local time: Chavez singing the national anthem and a military song that he made popular.

In some parts of greater Caracas fireworks were also set off.

Chavez died of cancer on March 5 and his anointed successor, Nicolas Maduro, is counting on a high turnout by the poor.

Maduro is favored but polls have showed challenger Henrique Capriles gaining in the past week on the strength of discontent with the state of the economy, rampant crime and chronic power outages outside the capital.

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