Chavez Concedes Venezuela’s Constitutional Reform Lost in “Foto Finish”

Dandelion Salad

December 3rd 2007, by Venezuelanalysis.com

Caracas, December 3, 2007 – Venezuela’s National Electoral Council Announced at 1:15am that the No vote against the President’s constitutional reform proposal lost 49.3% to 50.7%, with 45% abstention. Chavez conceded that the reform proposal lost “for now.”

The vote was divided into two blocks, whereby the first block included Chavez’s 33 proposed article changes and the second block included changes proposed by the national assembly. The second block lost with a slightly higher margin, with 51.0% for “No” to 49.0% for “Yes”.

Chavez defeated over reform vote

BBC
Monday, 3 December 2007, 08:24 GMT

The president said his battle for ‘socialism’ would go on
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has narrowly lost a referendum on controversial constitutional changes.

Voters rejected the raft of reforms by a margin of 51% to 49%, the chief of the National Electoral Council said.

Mr Chavez described the defeat as a “photo finish”, and urged followers not to turn it into a point of conflict.

Correspondents say the opposition could barely hide their delight and that the victory will put a brake on Mr Chavez’s self-styled “Socialist revolution”.

Celebrations by the opposition began almost immediately in the capital, Caracas, with activists cheering, beeping car horns and waving flags.

“Venezuela won today, democracy won today, and I am sure that this victory for the Venezuelan people will have a very important impact in the rest of Latin America,” Leopoldo Lopez, opposition mayor of Caracas’ Chaqua municipality, told the BBC.

Continued…

Chávez loses bid to rule until 2050

Rory Carroll in Caracas
Monday December 3, 2007
Guardian Unlimited
8.15am GMT

The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, has lost a referendum that would have allowed him to run for re-election indefinitely and enshrined socialism in the country.

Voters narrowly rejected the proposed constitutional changes in yesterday’s vote, an unprecedented defeat for a leader accustomed to landslides.

After a night of political drama, election officials announced the opposition had won 51% and the government 49%, a result that slammed the brakes on Chávez’s self-styled revolution.

Opposition supporters set off fireworks and poured on to the streets to celebrate what they said was the preservation of democracy from a power-hungry autocrat.

Continued…

Hugo Chavez tastes defeat in referendum

By Lucy Cockcroft
Telegraph
9:19am GMT 03/12/2007

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has suffered the first major defeat of his leadership in a referendum on constitutional changes that would have let him run for re-election indefinitely.

Voters rejected the contentious amendments, proposed to greatly expand his powers and turn the oil-rich country into a socialist state, by a narrow margin of 51 to 49 per cent.

But in typical fashion the president sought to turn defeat into his advantage by claiming it demonstrated the democratic nature of his rule.

The Election Commission announced the results at 1.20am on Monday morning, sending the jubilant political opposition onto the streets of Caracas in celebration, singing, letting fireworks into the air and honking car horns.

Mr Chavez added that his respect for the outcome of the referendum should vindicate his standing as a democratic leader.

“From this moment on, let’s be calm,” he declared. “There is no dictatorship here.”

The vote represents the first major electoral defeat for Mr Chavez after nine years in which he has won three general elections and two referendums.

His most controversial amendment would have done away with term limits, allowing the 53-year-old to hold leadership indefinitely as long as he was re-elected.

Continued…

Chavez loses constitution vote

Al Jazeera English
MONDAY, DECEMBER 03, 2007
8:29 MECCA TIME, 5:29 GMT

Venezuelans have rejected constitutional changes proposed by Hugo Chavez, the president, in a close-run referendum, according to the National Electoral Council.

The electoral authority announced early on Monday the “No” camp had won 51 per cent of the vote compared to the pro-Chavez “Yes” camp’s 49 per cent.

It said the result could not be reversed with the number of uncounted votes remaining and declared Chavez the loser.

Tensions high

Tensions had surged in recent weeks as university students led protests and occasionally clashed with police and pro-Chavez supporters.

George Ciccariello, an expert on Venezuela with the University of California at Berkeley in the US, told Al Jazeera there had been “a great deal of disinformation” about Chavez’s campaign prior to the vote.

“There were rumours, there was pamphleteering, there was printing false copies of the reform proposal.

“That said though Chavez really took a hit on this in terms of his moderate supporters not turning up to vote.”

Continued…

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