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Close call for Chavez on constitution reform

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Close call for Chavez on constitution reform

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After what has been described as the hardest campaign of his political life Hugo Chavez must wait and see if he has convinced voters to back a constitutional reform that would scrap limits on how many times he can run for president. Polls suggest a very close outcome. If he loses it would be a first referendum defeat for the leftist leader.

The reforms would also give Chavez control over the central bank and foreign currency reserves, reduce the workday to six hours and extend social security benefits. Chavez normally enjoys strong support among the poor but even here he appears to have lost ground this time. The usually fragmented opposition has sought to make the most of the uncertainty. Some Venezuelans fear there could be political turmoil if either side refuses to accept defeat.