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Venezuela to Hold Vote on Ending Term Limits


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is campaigning hard ahead of Sunday's referendum on ending term limits for officials.

He led the final rally ahead of Sunday's vote on whether to end term limits for elected officials.

Opposition leaders in Caracas Venezuela fear that if the measure is passed, it would allow Mr. Chavez to rule indefinitely.

President Chavez has campaigned heavily in recent weeks, urging Venezuelans to approve the proposed amendment, saying he needs more time to complete his Socialist inspired revolution.

In a fiery speech Thursday, Chavez predicted victory. "After we consolidate the victory and after we beat the opposition at the voting stations and in the streets, they will not dare not recognize the triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution," he said.

Mr. Chavez has built broad support in the past 10 years, by redirecting the country's oil revenues into social programs.

His supporters say living conditions have improved greatly thanks to new health, education and training projects called misiones.

Security guard Jose Gil says the programs have helped his family. "I am voting 'yes' for the sake of my family and for all the government social programs," he said. "If people don't vote on Sunday the opposition will take it all away, all the social programs."

Opposition members dispute these fears about social cuts, if the amendment is defeated. A loss Sunday would not affect Mr. Chavez's current term which ends in 2012.

In 2007, opposition groups helped defeat a similar proposal on term limits which was included in a massive amendment plan. They say holding a second vote on the issue is unconstitutional.

Andres Garcia-Pretel is campaigning against the measure.

"The country also made its decision. If this is a revolution of the people then the president must respect our vote, which was to reject the measure," he said.

If the measure fails again, Mr. Chavez has said he will call another vote to allow him to remain in office.


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