Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez unveiled plans to amend 33 articles of the country's constitution and pave the way for him to remain in power indefinitely.
Among the amendments he outlined in a speech to the National Assembly Wednesday, Chavez is seeking to expand the presidential term of office to seven years, from the current six, and to eliminate the two-term limit.
"This issue is polemical, but I'm not trying to deceive anyone, the president said. "This proposal is being made now so that nobody can come back and accuse us of trying to trick the country by pulling something out of our sleeve."
Under the 1999 constitution enacted shortly after Chavez assumed power, he is obliged to step down when his current second six-year term ends in 2012.
The president conceded that he would be criticized in some quarters for attempting to cling to power indefinitely, but said such a scenario would depend on many factors, including "one's willingness to do so, the political realities and - in the end - the decision of the sovereign people."
Chavez is also proposing to take away the autonomy of the country's central bank and to give the executive the authority to determine monetary policy in line with its political programme.
The 33 planned amendments to the charter's 350 articles would also allow the central government more power over national resources and strengthen its ability to control foreign companies operating in the country.
The National Assembly is dominated by Chavez supporters.
Last Mod: 16 Ağustos 2007, 16:30