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Venezuela President Hugo Chavez launches campaign for re-election

Chavez, who is battling cancer, formally registered his candidacy for the October presidential election on Monday.

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Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attend a massive rally after he registered his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election. (AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is battling cancer, has officially launched his campaign for the October election.

A lengthy plan published in the government newspaper Ciudad CCS today outlined his goals for the next six years, which include deepening his socialist policies and boosting food production by 45 percent, the Associated Press reported, noting Venezuela is heavily reliant on food imports.

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Chavez, who has been shuffling between Venezuela and close ally Cuba where he has been receiving treatment for cancer, formally registered as a candidate for the October 7 presidential election on Monday.

According to the Telegraph, thousands of Chavez supporters lined the streets of the capital Caracas to cheer the former soldier as he drove to the elections office to register his candidacy.

The opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, 39, registered on Sunday.

The BBC reported that Chavez, 57, danced and sang in front of the crowd.

"I give this to you with a promise to fight, to battle, and of course to win," Chavez was quoted by the BBC as saying as he registered.

"It has been a difficult year. I thank God for this life."

Chavez, who has ruled Venezuela since 1998, enjoys a comfortable lead over his younger rival, according to most polls.

But there are concerns that the socialist leader, who has been uncharacteristically absent from the public limelight in recent months, could die before the election or be forced to pull out of the contest due to ill health, which could unleash violence in the South American country. 

More from GlobalPost: Hugo Chavez back in Venezuela presidential race
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/venezuela/120612/venezuela-president-hugo-chavez-launches-campaign-re