A supporter of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez gathers to line up for a chance to view his body lying in state, at the military academy in Caracas - Reuters
Venezuela will go to the polls on 14 April to elect a new president following the death of former president Hugo Chavez.
The winner of next month's election will complete Chavez's six-year term, which commenced in January after the elections last year.
The announcement by the National Electoral Council has come a day after Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's preferred successor, took over as interim president.
The campaign will start on 2 April and end two days before polling day.
Maduro, 50, will contest as the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela's presidential candidate, while the main opposition bloc will be fielding 40-year-old Henrique Capriles as their nominee.
Capriles, who lost to Chavez in the last election, has thanked the coalition for his nomination. However, Capriles said on his Twitter account that he will formally announce his candidacy later.
Chavez, who ruled the country for 14 years, beat Capriles securing 54 percent of votes in the October 2012 election.
Chavez's critics point out that Maduro has been firming up his position while the nation continues to mourn its leader. Although the courts have allowed Maduro to stay on as acting president even during the election campaign, his opponents have denounced the move as "fraudulent."
"The next president will have huge challenges: Earning the respect of the impoverished population, who blindly believe in Chavez, in a divided country," said Agustin Blanco, professor at the Central University of Venezuela, according to Al Jazeera.
The political atmosphere is already surcharged as both sides are engaged in a war of words.
"Nicolas, nobody elected you president. The people didn't vote for you, kid," Capriles said soon after Maduro was sworn in as acting president.
Opinion polls predict a comfortable victory for Maduro. Despite the huge outpouring of grief over Chavez's death, the opposition group is hopeful of winning the election.
"We want change. We are tired of the Chavez era. It's been 14 years," a 33-year-old cook at a Chinese restaurant in Caracas told Reuters.
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