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(02/01/09) -

Venezuelans Would Support Charter Amendments

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in Venezuela would support a set of proposed amendments to the country’s constitution, according to a poll by the Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis (IVAD). 47.5 per cent of respondents would vote in favour of the changes in an upcoming referendum, while 40.4 per cent would vote against them.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in Venezuela would support a set of proposed amendments to the country’s constitution, according to a poll by the Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis (IVAD). 47.5 per cent of respondents would vote in favour of the changes in an upcoming referendum, while 40.4 per cent would vote against them.

Hugo Chávez—a left-leaning leader—has been in office since February 1999. In July 2000, he was elected to a six-year term with 59.5 per cent of all cast ballots. In August 2004, Chávez won a referendum on his tenure with 59 per cent of the vote. The special election was called after opposition organizations in Venezuela gathered 2.5 million signatures to force a recall ballot. In December 2006, Chávez earned a new six-year term with 62.89 per cent of the vote.

In December 2007, a package of constitutional amendments tabled by the president and endorsed by the National Assembly—where pro-Chávez lawmakers control more than two-thirds of the seats—was narrowly defeated in a nationwide referendum. The proposed changes included the introduction of a clause that would allow the unlimited re-election of the head of state, new land ownership rules, and ending the autonomy of the Central Bank.

In the November 2008 municipal elections, pro-Chávez parties emerged victorious in 17 of the country’s 22 regions. Chávez later proclaimed himself a "presidential pre-candidate" for the 2012 ballot and submitted a bill to the legislature that seeks to allow him to run again by changing the constitution and ending term limits for heads of state. The measure would also allow mayors, governors, state legislators and national legislators to be re-elected more than once.

On Jan. 14, the National Assembly approved Chávez’s proposal. The referendum will take place on Feb. 15.

On Jan. 27, Chávez urged voters to support his proposed changes, saying, "I am at your service, if you really want me to stay as your leader for a few more years we have to knock out the anti-patriotic opposition".

Polling Data

How would you vote if a public referendum on the constitutional amendments took place?

In favour

47.5%

Against

40.4%

Not sure/Would not vote

12.1%

Source: Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis (IVAD)
Methodology: Interviews with 1,200 Venezuelan adults, conducted from Jan. 13 to Jan. 20, 2009. Margin of error is 2.4 per cent.