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VENEZUELA
Reelection vote looms
1/22/2009
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Chávez seeks approval of Congress-backed amendment to run for indefinite reelection.

The National Assembly approved an amendment on Jan. 15 to allow elected officials, including President Hugo Chávez, to run for indefinite reelection.

“I want to congratulate the National Assembly for the approval,” said Chávez, whose party controls the legislature, after the vote.

The amendment still faces approval in a national referendum by Feb. 15. In December 2007, voters narrowly rejected a similar series of constitutional reform proposals that would have also allowed Chávez to run for office indefinitely as well as increase presidential powers.

Chávez said the amendment is necessary to carry out his socialist reforms.

Opposition leaders slammed the Legislative Assembly´s approval of the amendment, saying Chávez only wants to consolidate power.

“You can´t manipulate people by invoking democratic values and rights, thinking that our people are stupid and that they don´t realize that the idea is to concentrate power in one man and dissolving institutions,” said dissident lawmaker Juan José Molina.

Chávez´s Socialist Party of Venezuela won 17 of the country´s 22 states in gubernatorial and local elections late last year.
—Latinamerica Press.


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