Wednesday, August 15, 2007

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For those of you nostalgic for Pravda

Simon Romero reports in the New York Times about Hugo Chávez's proposed constitutional changes:

President Hugo Chávez will unveil a project to change the Constitution on Wednesday that is expected to allow him to be re-elected indefinitely, a move that would enhance his authority to accelerate a socialist-inspired transformation of Venezuelan society.

The removal of term limits for Mr. Chávez, which is at the heart of the proposal, is expected to be accompanied by measures circumscribing the authority of elected governors and mayors, who would be prevented from staying in power indefinitely, according to versions of the project leaked in recent weeks.

Willian Lara, the communications minister, said Mr. Chávez would announce the project before the National Assembly, where all 167 lawmakers support the president. Supporters of Mr. Chávez, who was re-elected last year with some 60 percent of the vote, also control the Supreme Court, the entire federal bureaucracy, public oil and infrastructure companies and every state government but two.

The aim of the overhaul is “to guarantee to the people the largest amount of happiness possible,” Mr. Lara said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The story has a whiff of the old Soviet-era Pravda. Not because Romero is Chávez's mouthpiece, but rather the tone of the comments made by Venezuelan officials.

And, of course, Chávez's apparent fondness for democratic centralism.

posted by Dan on 08.15.07 at 08:05 AM


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