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Henrique Capriles Radonski: The candidate challenging Hugo Chavez

By Michael Martinez, CNN
October 6, 2012 -- Updated 0046 GMT (0846 HKT)
Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski waves to supporters during a campaign rally in September.
Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski waves to supporters during a campaign rally in September.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Henrique Capriles Radonski has been a parliament leader, mayor and governor
  • He is backed by a coalition of opposition parties seeking to unseat President Chavez
  • He was jailed in 2002 during demonstrations against the Chavez government
  • Capriles' grandparents were Polish Holocaust survivors but he's a practicing Catholic

(CNN) -- Henrique Capriles Radonski is the fast-rising conservative challenging President Hugo Chavez in Sunday's elections.

At age 40, he has been a mayor, a parliament leader, a governor of a major state and he's now the candidate of an opposition coalition seeking to knock Chavez out of power after 13 years.

Capriles enjoys the backing of a coalition of opposition parties.

An attorney, he was elected to parliament in 1998, when Venezuela had a bicameral legislature.

He was just 25 years old at the time, but he quickly advanced to become the president of the Chamber of Deputies and then president of the entire Parliament.

But the bicameral legislature was dissolved in 1999.

The following year, Capriles was elected mayor of Baruta, which is located in the state of Miranda and is a suburb in the Caracas metropolitan area.

He became mayor with more than 60% of the vote in 2000.

In 2002, he become involved in violent anti-government demonstrations outside the Cuban Embassy and spent four months in jail. The tumult was so powerful that Chavez was briefly ousted from office.

Capriles was eventually released from jail and cleared of any wrongdoing.

He then was reelected mayor with almost 80% approval in 2004.

In 2008, he ran for governor of Miranda and won.

He kept pursuing higher office, and this February he won an opposition primary and became the candidate to run against Chavez.

He has since stepped down from the governorship to campaign full time.

Capriles' grandparents were Polish Holocaust survivors, but he is a practicing Catholic, according to the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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