Venezuela: Congress passes re-election bill
rahul | January 15, 2009 at 08:43 amby
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The Venezuelan National Assembly approved the wording of the question for a National Referendum on limitless election. Once, the bill is sent to the Electoral Body- CNE-, a Referendum should be organised and celebrated in 30 days.
Venezuela's national assembly has approved a constitutional amendment to remove presidential term limits. The amendment, which applies to all elected officials, must be approved by a referendum within 30 days, a vote correspondents say is set to be close. President Hugo Chavez urged a change in the law in his annual address on Tuesday. He said it would be dangerous to remove a captain from his ship halfway through the voyage. The measure is Mr Chavez's second attempt at seeking unlimited re-election. A similar referendum was defeated in late 2007. The constitutional amendment will now be presented to the national election board, which will convene the referendum, thought likely to be in mid-February.
Chavez amended the constitution in 1998, one year after being elected, to allow for a second six-year presidential term. In 2007, however, attempts to remove term limits on his office were rejected in a referendum. Chavez has said he plans to run for a third term if legally allowed to in 2012. The amendment was passed on Wednesday after eight hours of debate by a show of hands in the 167-seat assembly, with only six votes against. Allies of Chavez holds a strong majority in the legislature. The constitutional amendment will now be presented to the National Election Board, which will convene a referendum, expected around February 15. Hundreds of students, meanwhile, held protests against the approved legislation outside several universities in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse at least one group of demonstrators blocking a highway.
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