Nicolas Maduro says he does not know why Chavez picked him as successor

Venezuelan caretaker president Nicolas Maduro, the ruling-party presidential candidate in Sunday's election, said he does not know why the late president Hugo Chavez picked him as his successor, APA reports quoting local media.

In an interview with a Venezuelan TV channel Thursday, Maduro said Chavez did not give him the reasons before his death of cancer complications on March 5, and he didn't dare to ask.

"I really don't know. I never asked him, he did not give me the chance. I would not have asked anyway," Maduro said on the last day of the election campaign.

"Life will tell, history will tell. There may have been a mix of affection, of mutual love, and besides we had been very close for a very long time," he said.

Maduro is regarded as the favourite to defeat unified opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who already lost to Chavez in the October 7 presidential election.

Maduro said Chavez had slowly prepared his team for the event of his death, and he said his last conversation with the late leader included a recommendation from Chavez that he should mind his health.

"He was lying in bed and he called me in the way he communicated (at the time), with his lips," Maduro recalled.

"He saluted me and he told me, 'Mind your health." Those were his last words," he said.

Azeri-Press news agency