Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez has won a referendum allowing him to stand for re-election beyond a second term. With most votes now counted, electoral authorities say some 54 per cent approved the constitutional amendment to remove presidential term limits. It means, Chavez will be able to remain in power, just as long as he keeps beating his rivals at the ballot box.
The Venezuelan President said: “ I’m ready! With today’s victory begins the third historic stage of the Bolivian revolution from 2009 to 2019. Jubilation for supporters who back the Venezuelan leader’s socialist agenda to end corrupt elites and spend more on health and education. But, the result is a huge blow for the opposition who fear it will give Chavez too much power. Student opposition leader David Smolansky said: “We accept these results, but we want to make it very clear many Venezuelans have suffered a lot during one of the shortest electoral campaign periods in the history of this country.” Despite the victory, Chavez faces a difficult task steering Venezuela, which is heavily reliant on oil exports, through the global economic turmoil.