Voting is underway in Venezuela in a referendum which could allow President Hugo Chavez to run for re-election indefinitely.
It is Chavez’s second bid to extend his rule after a decade in power. A similar referendum in 2007 was rejected. According to opinion polls, the vote will be close with many Venezuelans still undecided. On the streets of Caracas, opinions are divided. Chavez supporter Rocky Gonzalez said: “We are voting in favour of our President, because he’s the only president we have had here in Venezuela who has wanted to help, truthfully and will love, with care and with respect, the people who most need it.” But not everyone agrees. Oppositon supporter Margot Bispal said: “We have had 10 years with this government and it hasnn’t really given us professionals or the rest of the people of Venezuela any direction.” Populist Chavez claims he needs at least another 10 years to complete his socialist revolution. But critics have expressed concerns about the fairness of the electoral campaign and say a “Yes” vote would effectively allow him to be president for life.