Chavez slams opposition candidate
Caracas - President Hugo Chavez has referred to the opposition candidate for Venezuela's highest office as a "lowlife... pig" in a sharp attack at the start of this year's election season.
"My mission... [will be] to take off the mask, you lowlife, because no matter how much you disguise it, lowlife, you have a pig's tail, a pig's ears, and you snort like a pig," Chavez said in a speech broadcast on state radio and television, referring to opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.
Capriles, 39, easily won Sunday's primary elections to be the opposition's sole candidate but now faces a tough battle against the firebrand president ahead of the election on October 7.
Earlier this week Chavez, in power since 1999, accused Capriles of being "the candidate of the bourgeois, of capitalism, of imperialism".
Capriles, a moderate who describes his politics as centre-left, has argued that Venezuela can replicate Brazil's model of economic development, which mixes free market economic reforms and enhanced social programmes.
Chavez, 57, a leftist ally of Cuba and harsh critic of the US, remains popular among the working class, backed by resources including state media, and food and fuel subsidies.