Venezuelans rally against constitutional reform

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have participated in a huge opposition rally against the constitutional reforms pushed by President Hugo Chavez, Spanish news agency EFE reported Friday.

Venezuelans rally against constitutional reform
The opposition leaders at the rally held here Thursday called on the people to vote against the constitutional reform in the referendum slated for Sunday.

They also urged people not to initiate or participate in any sort of violence or disturbance during the referendum.

'On Sunday night we will look for a majority vote that will say 'no' to Chavez's reform. And to the military, we say that they will have to be impartial and obey the will of the people,' said student leader Yon Goicoechea addressing the protestors.

Goicoechea said Chavez would have to govern the country according to the constitution after his defeat in the referendum.

'Govern, Mr President, but govern as a democrat, or you will meet the valiant public in the streets,' he said.

'A generation has risen up that is committed to building a country without repeating the mistakes of the past and those of the present,' said Freddy Guevara, another student leader.

The opposition leaders said that the same opinion polls that predicted Chavez's victory in last year's presidential election were now predicting that the 'no' vote against the constitutional reform would prevail in Sunday's referendum.

Some 16 million Venezuelans are eligible to vote in Sunday's referendum on amendments to 69 articles of the constitution adopted in 1999.

The proposed changes in the constitution include elimination of presidential term limits, mandating a 36-hour-work week and creating new types of property alongside the existing categories of private and public.

Another measure will give the government the right to suspend due statutory process and press freedom during a state of emergency.

Chavez says the changes to the current constitution will give 'more power to the people' and help in expanding the project he calls 'socialism of the 21st century.'


Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Kasım 2007, 14:55