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Chavez Calls for End to Presidential Term Limits in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is calling for an end to presidential term limits as part of his plans to reform his country's constitution.

Mr. Chavez announced the proposals Wednesday during a speech before Venezuela's National Assembly. Along with ending presidential term limits, the leftist leader also wants to extend the term of office from six to seven years.

Venezuela's current constitution limits the president to just two six-year terms in office.

Mr. Chavez also proposed eliminating the autonomy of the country's central bank, giving him more control over the nation's financial reserves.

Opposition leaders say Mr. Chavez is attempting to create a dictatorship similar to that of Cuba's Fidel Castro, a close ally of the Venezuelan leader. Mr. Chavez took power after a landslide election victory in 1998.

The National Assembly is expected to approve his changes, as it is controlled by Chavez supporters.

If the plan passes the legislature, Venezuelan citizens must vote in a referendum to accept or reject it.

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