A presidential election to replace late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez will be held on 14 April, the country’s electoral commission has said.
BBC says the announcement follows the appointment of Mr. Chavez’s favoured successor, Nicolas Maduro, as acting president.
Hugo Chavez died on 5 March after a long battle with cancer.
Mr. Maduro will run as the governing party candidate with Henrique Capriles expected to stand for the opposition.
Mr. Chavez – who led Venezuela for 14 years – won last October’s election against Mr. Capriles, polling 54 per cent of the vote to Mr. Capriles’s 44 per cent.
As Mr. Chavez’s health worsened, he announced that his vice-president, Mr. Maduro, should succeed him.
Mr. Maduro, 50, has pledged to carry on the former president’s leftist policies and opinion polls have shown him as the favourite to win the next election.
The head of the electoral commission, Tibisay Lucena, said the candidates would have to register for the race by Monday.
Shortly after his announcement, the head of the opposition coalition officially proposed Mr. Capriles, 40, as their presidential candidate.
Mr. Capriles tweeted that he was grateful to be chosen, adding that he was analysing the statement from the electoral commission.
“In the following hours I will give my decision,” he said.
Mr. Capriles – a lawyer by training – is governor of the state of Miranda.