Update: Dec. 3, 2007
Chavez wins Venezuela vote: sources
By Saul Hudson and Ana Isabel Martinez
Sun Dec 2, 2007 6:34 PM EST136
CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appeared headed for victory on Sunday in a referendum on allowing the leftist to rule for as long as he keeps winning elections, government-linked sources said, citing exit polls.
Three exit polls showed the anti-American leader won by between six and eight percentage points in a vote where turnout was low, the two sources said.
If his victory is confirmed, the referendum vote on a raft of reforms would allow Chavez — in office since 1999 — to run for reelection indefinitely, control foreign currency reserves, appoint loyalists over regional elected officials and censor the media if he declares an emergency.
Voting ends on Venezuela reforms
Sunday, 2 December 2007, 21:28 GMT
Voters in Caracas were woken by fireworks and loud music
Polls have closed in Venezuela after a referendum on a series of far-reaching constitutional changes sought by President Hugo Chavez.
Turnout was reported to be high in the capital, Caracas, where there were long queues of voters.
The raft of reforms would see the end of presidential term limits and the Central Bank’s autonomy removed.
Mr Chavez says the proposed changes would return power to the people, but opponents accuse him of a power grab.
Residents of Caracas were woken before dawn by fireworks and loud music, says a BBC correspondent.
It was a rallying call to vote, correspondent James Ingham says, and appeared to have the desired effect, with long queues, several hours long, forming outside polling stations.
Some polling stations stayed open late to accommodate them.
“We will accept the results whatever they are. Venezuelans have never voted so often as during these nine years of peaceful and democratic revolution,” Mr Chavez said after voting.
Venezuelan referendum ends with suspense over results
CARACAS (AFP) – A referendum in Venezuela aimed at greatly bolstering President Hugo Chavez’s powers ended Sunday with suspense over the result, expected to be close.
If official results show a “yes” vote, Chavez would emerge as one of Latin America’s most powerful leaders, with the right to stand for re-election indefinitely and with tighter control over his oil-rich country.
If “no” prevails, it would be the worst blow Chavez has ever suffered at the ballot box during his eight-year rule. He would be able to see though his current mandate — due to expire in January 2013 — but would then be required to step down.
Defense Minister Gustavo Rangel Briceno announced that polling stations closed as scheduled at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT), but the head of the National Electoral Council, Tibisay Lucena, said some centers still had lines of voters whose ballots had to be processed.
During that time, no exit poll data would be released, she said.
Venezuelan citizens line up waiting for their turn to vote
“We have to wait for the electoral results,” Lucena said.
54% of Venezuelan ballot boxes will be opened to backup electronic results
December 2nd 2007, by Prensa Web RNV
More than half of the ballot boxes containing the physical votes of the Referendum Sunday December 2nd will be opened to verify the electoral process, announced Supplemental Rector of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Humberto Castillo, during a special broadcast on Venezolana de Televisión (VTV).
According to Castillo “what used to be a black box is now a transparent box since 54% of the ballot boxes will be open.” He stated that the results will reflect the will of the people.
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