Published May 06, 2006
CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said he could seek "indefinite" re-election through a referendum if the opposition boycotts upcoming presidential elections.
Chavez made the remark late Friday, saying if the opposition pulls out of the Dec. 3 vote or makes false claims of electoral fraud to the Organization of American States, "I would call a national referendum to have the people decide if I can continue here indefinitely or if I have to go after six years in 2014."
Venezuela's constitution allows a president to be re-elected only once in immediate succession. That limit would give Chavez six more years in office if he is re-elected.
Chavez, giving a speech in the central state of Lara, said he would ask the nation "if I can or cannot continue presenting my name" in subsequent elections.
Polls indicate Chavez is likely to win the elections, and international observers have signed off on recent votes as fair.
But some opposition members have questioned the recent selection of new directors for the country's electoral council, claiming they are government sympathizers and cannot be trusted.
Chavez rejected those charges, saying he knew none of the newly elected members, and accused the opposition of "throwing stones at the arbiter" because they face a certain loss.
"Play fairly and legally," he said.