12 February 2012 Last updated at 21:24 ET Henrique Capriles said the real contest would start once the opposition candidate was selected
Venezuela's opposition has chosen Henrique Capriles Radonski to stand against President Hugo Chavez in October's election, say officials.
The election of the Miranda state governor came after the opposition held its first ever primary.
Voting was extended for a hour after what organisers said was a higher-than-expected turn-out.
President Chavez has said he is confident of winning re-election no matter who he ran against.
The left-wing leader has governed Venezuela since 1999, winning repeated election victories.
He had surgery for cancer last year but says he has recovered and is ready to campaign for another six-year term in office.
The primary, organised by the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition, was open to all Venezuelans of voting age, regardless of their political affiliation.
"We are going to surpass all expectations of participation," Mr Capriles said as he cast his vote in Caracas.
"Today is a day for the future of Venezuela," he added.
'Agents of imperialism' Election chief Teresa Albanes said Mr Capriles, 39, had won about 62% of the 2.9 million votes cast with 95% of votes counted. He easily beat his closest challenger, Zulia state governor Pablo Perez.
Mr Perez, 42, has the support of Democratic Action and Copei - two parties that dominated Venezuelan politics before Hugo Chavez became president.
Also standing in the primary were congresswoman Maria Corina Machado, 43, veteran politician Diego Arria, 73, and former Chavez ally Pablo Medina, 64.
Mr Chavez has dismissed all the candidates as representatives of US "imperialism" who would dismantle his socialist reforms.
He has also said he would accept the election result if he were defeated in October.
The MUD coalition narrowly won the popular vote in last year's legislative election, gaining 67 out of 165 congressional seats on offer.
But opinion polls suggest Mr Chavez is still favourite to win the presidential poll.
Article Source : BBC News
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