7 Dec 2008

Opposition rejects Chavez latest bid for presidency

7:29 pm on 7 December 2008

Opposition parties in Venezuela have issued a formal rejection of a plan by Hugo Chavez to stand a third time for the Presidency.

In a joint statement, the opposition said: "Fourteen years are sufficient."

Mr Chavez has urged Congress to consider a constitutional amendment that would allow candidates to contest the presidency for more than two terms.

Mr Chavez, marking 10 years since his first election as president, is seeking reforms that would let him stand again when his latest term ends in 2012.

Last year, he lost a referendum on the issue and opposition parties say it cannot be voted on again.

Thousands of supporters of the president gathered outside the presidential palace in Caracas on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of his first election victory in December 1998.

But opposition parties issued a joint statement saying the president's re-election proposals were "anti-democratic, unconstitutional and against the national interest".