Venezuela to vote over constitutional reform on Sunday

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Political advertisement, saying "SÍ" (yes) to the constitutional reform

This Sunday Venezuelans will decide whether a series of constitutional reforms should be approved or not; among these reforms, one issue which has received widespread media attention is that the new constitution will allow presidents to be re-elected without term limits.

The amendments—which will affect 69 of the 350 articles—have already been passed by the Venezuelan National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela). Now the referendum will take place on Sunday, being the last step required before the reform can come into effect.

Preparations for the referendum.

According to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the constitutional reform is needed to complete the country's transition to a "socialist republic". The 1999 Constitution had already increased the presidential term of office from five to six years, with the possibility of re-election. The previous constitution did not allow re-election.

Other disputed aspects are the autonomy of the Central Bank and reforms known as the "new geometry of power"; the opposition has argued that the reform is an attempt of granting even more power to Chávez. The President has argued that the reform is, on the contrary, a new "equation" to grant more power to the people.