Venezuela: Amendment Referendum likely early February 2009
As Christmas time approaches and Caracas enjoys a cool weather, political activities continue to warm up Venezuelans. On Friday 18 December 2008, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) and the National Assembly (Parliament) met "to set a dateline for a possible referendum on a constitutional amendment to allow for unlimited presidential elections". In a related event, the local and international opposition continued to oppose such governmental move. "In the current historical context, this amendment would also pave the way for incumbent President Hugo Chavez to continue in office if the leaderless and divided local opposition cannot find a challenging candidate in elections due in 2012." From a conservative point of view, the editorial of Washington Post stated today that "Chavez will not be able to win the referendum on a constitutional amendment for indefinite presidential reelection unless force or fraud is used". However, such futuristic predictions seem to forecast on baseless prejudices. The fact remains that the local opposition has not been able to call for its cadres to oppose the reelection move by calling its own drafted amendment referendum. It also forgets that under the current constitution, any Venezuelan President can be recalled after the first half of its governing term has elapsed.
Caracas, Dec 19 (Prensa Latina) The Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) and the Parliament are meeting on Friday to set a dateline for a possible referendum on a constitutional amendment, which would allow unlimited presidential reelection. “We are getting on with the voting machines and everything we can, but we have to wait until the National Assembly officially presents the modification,” CNE president Tibisay Lucena said. In support for the first parliamentary debate, hundreds of Venezuelans on Thursday witnessed the granting of 4.76 million signatures collected nationwide, favoring the initiative that would enable President Chavez to run for the presidency in 2012. “We congratulate the people that have given us all those smiles,” said the head of the Simon Bolivar Campaign for the Amendment, Jorge Rodriguez. nm/dig ro Original source at Prensa Latina
Tibisay Lucena, the chair of the National Electoral Council (CNE) reported on Friday that under the Constitution, the CNE should hold the people's referendum 30 days after having received a formal application; therefore, no final date can be announced yet.
Lucena said that once they have the request from the National Assembly (AN), the date for the referendum may be set. She reported that the CNE received on Friday from the AN chair Cilia Flores a draft amendment with the rationale. She added that the meeting held on Friday with the Congress chair was fruitful and they exchanged views on the activities carried out at the AN in the context of the discussion of the presidential proposal. Leda Piñero
Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez will not be able to win the referendum on a constitutional amendment for indefinite presidential reelection unless force or fraud is used, said the Washington Post. The newspaper reacted with an editorial to the approval in first discussion by Venezuela's National Assembly of the proposed constitutional amendment to establish indefinite presidential reelection, EFE reported. The second and final debate on the draft amendment will be conducted next January 5, and the matter will then be sent to the National Electoral Council (CNE), which will organize within a period of 30 days a referendum on the constitutional amendment. "Both history and the polls say he cannot win this referendum without force or fraud," warned the US newspaper in its Friday's editorial. The daily argues that the "future does not look bright" for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, taking into account that last month, opposition candidates won control of the country's three most populous states and the two largest cities.
Related story at NP: Venezuelan Parliament calls for Consitutional amendment,