Hugo Chavez seeks unlimited presidential terms

By RIA Novosti

Buenos Aires : Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will soon submit a draft law abolishing presidential term limits to the parliament.

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“The bill will help make amendments to the country’s constitution to lift restrictions on the number of presidential terms,” said Cilia Flores, the speaker of the Venezuelan parliament.

“The president should have the right to nominate himself an unlimited number of times, since the nation has the last say anyway,” she said.

The Venezuelan president is elected by direct vote and functions as both the head of state and head of government. The term of office is for six years and a president may be re-elected to a single consecutive term.

Flores said Chavez could submit the bill before late next week.

“If a Venezuelan president is a wise ruler of his country, he can be re-elected as long as the people of Venezuela grant him confidence,” Flores said.

Chavez first pledged to amend the constitution after he won the presidential election Dec 3, 2006.

“I do not think we have the right to deprive the people of the opportunity for re-electing the leader they have come to like for a fourth, fifth or sixth term,” Chavez said.

Earlier, the Venezuelan parliament granted Chavez vast powers of independent legislative initiative.

The draft law would enable Chavez to make laws aimed at fully nationalizing the country’s economy, including energy and telecommunications, within the next 18 months.