Chávez watch: unlimited re-election
The Venezuelan parliament has begun a process that could allow president Hugo Chávez unlimited re-election and back his bid to rule until 2021. The proposed constitutional amendment must now be read twice in parliament before it can be brought to referendum. Chávez, who came to power in 1999, was re-elected president of Venezuela in December 2006, for a term expiring in 2013. Two debates are also necessary, one took place on December 18, and the second is expected in mid-January. The National Electoral Council will then convene a referendum within 30 days.