| December 7, 2008 at 12:09 am
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The following BBC article attempts to portray recent political events in Venezuela. Adopting the view of local opposition, it reports on the reaction to prospects of extending Chavez´s tenure in power after 2012. Thus, it missed the opportunity to clarify meaningful events to readers. First, local opposition remains undemocratic, divided and has no leader to run against President Chavez yet. Contrary to the official party- PSUV-, Venezuelan opposition parties do not fancy primary election to select their leaders. Only a small group negotiates the appointment of candidates and who would run in elections undemocratically. Second, the Venezuelan Constitution allows referenda to be called by the President, the Parliament or the people. Last year and after the President called for a Referendum to reform the Constitution, Venezuelans were consulted on quite a number of topics including the extension of Chavez´s tenure in office and the adoption of socialist orientated constitutional provisions. The government nearly turned the country socialist and failed the referendum. However, the vote was on such a variety of complex issues that it is misleading to assume the population rejected the extension of Chavez´s tenure in office. His surprisingly high popularity after so many years in office would certainly contradict such allegation. Third, it is not Chavez who is directly calling on the extension of his chances to run for the Presidency in 2021. This time, the referendum initiative would correspond to either Parliament or the people. The government currently favours a Parliamentary initiative. Local Parliament is dominated by Chavez´s allies after the opposition decided not to participate in parliamentary elections few years ago. Such ill timed decision, prevented the emergence of new and young leaders among opposition cadres. In addition, it also affected its real chances of opposing any governmental led plan or policy such the coming referendum. Finally and despite the possibility of Chavez´s participation in the 2012 presidential elections, his winning chances are up to his government efficiency and performance during world economic recession and falling oil prices. By arguing against Chavez´s bid, the opposition concedes self defeat as it has no popular leader capable of winning presidential elections.
Opposition damns Chavez vote bid Opposition parties in Venezuela have formally rejected a plan by President Hugo Chavez to seek to stay in office as long as he keeps winning elections. In a joint statement, the opposition said: "Fourteen years are sufficient." Mr Chavez, marking 10 years since his first election as president, is seeking reforms that would let him stand again when his latest term ends in 2012. Last year, he lost a referendum on the issue and opposition parties say it cannot be voted on again. Thousands of supporters of the president gathered outside the presidential palace in Caracas on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of his first election victory in December 1998. But opposition parties issued a joint statement saying the president's re-election proposals were "anti-democratic, unconstitutional and against the national interest". Opposition politician Omar Barboza said it would strengthen the actions of a government which persecutes and harasses those who do not think as it does. He said the statement marked the launch of their No campaign ahead of a referendum President Chavez hopes could be held in February. Signatures needed: Re-election in the 2012 elections would keep him in power until 2019, but the president has said he hopes to remain in power until 2021. Mr Chavez can propose holding a referendum to the electoral authority only if he collects 2.5 million signatures supporting it, or if the request is supported by 30% of Congress, which is currently dominated by his allies. He told supporters outside the palace that he had decided to set the constitutional amendment plans into motion - but said it should be done with full support of people, in streets gathering signatures. The electoral authority is required to call a referendum 30 days after receiving a successful proposal. But it has already said it would be ready to hold a referendum in February. Although the president's personal support is still over 50%, the opposition has been buoyed by its recent performances at the ballot box, says the BBC's Will Grant in Caracas
: Referendum: Venezuela nearly turned socialist (updated)
, Venezuela: Chavez urges quick action to end term limits (Updated)