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Chavez Pushes for More Time in Office


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has resumed his push to remove constitutional term limits that would force him to leave office when his term expires in 2013.

On Sunday, Mr. Chavez called on his supporters to work on a constitutional amendment that would allow him to stay in office as long as he can keep winning elections.

Last year, Venezuelans narrowly rejected just such a proposal in a referendum.

Mr. Chavez told a crowd in Caracas Sunday that he is ready to stay in office until the year 2021. The president said he needed more time in office to build a socialist economy in Venezuela.

During his speech, Mr. Chavez also threatened to expel a Colombian diplomat in the western city of Maracaibo. Mr. Chavez said the Colombian was working with opposition leaders in Venezuela to undermine his administration.

Colombia later said the diplomat would leave Venezuela.

Relations between the two neighboring countries soured in recent months, with Colombia accusing the Chavez government of supporting Colombian FARC rebels. Mr. Chavez at one point called the Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe, a coward and a liar. The two leaders met in July to put aside months of animosity and try to mend ties.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.

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