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President for life, eh???

Uh...no. Sorry, all ye wingnuts, but the Big Guy himself just contradicted the dumbest of your alarmist claims. Story from Aporrea:

According the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez Frias, the most important thing is that the people have the power to elect and re-elect a president as many times as they want. He expressed this during an interview conducted by French journalists Mariani Pascale and Renaud Girard, of the daily newspaper Le Figaro.

In response to questions about the referendum on constitutional reforms, to be held on December 2, he reiterated that the re-election proposal was not made with the intention to be president for life without offering the citizens the power to decide, as in Europe.

Translation mine.

The indefinite re-election of heads of state is not only commonplace in Europe, but in Canada as well. Here, a prime minister is only in power as long as the people and the parliament say he should be. If public confidence in the head of state is lost, so is his or her tenure. S/he is then obligated to call an election. And if the people decide to do away with that pesky PM, so be it. But there are no term limits to delineate this, only the will of the people.

I fail to see what's so horrible and dictatorial about Hugo Chavez having the same rights in Venezuela as our prime ministers have up here.

Oh. Wait.

This isn't really about term limits and elections, is it. All that talk is just a cover.

It's about Hugo Chavez. Silly me! It's always about him. The only way the Venezuelan opposition stands a chance against him and his supporters is if he can be barred from running for office again. Because God dammit to hell, he is just so popular that he can't be voted out. So he has to be barred from running. OH! Now it all makes sense.

Except for one thing: that's not the way solid democracies are actually run. And Chavecito, no fool, knows it.

Damn him, why does he always have to throw a big fat monkey wrench into everything???

Comments

I think this even goes back to FDR, actually. That was where all this term limits stuff started. And you have to think that it took a president actually helping the people to get a constitutional amendment passed to limit presidential terms here in the U.S. That is how long the moneyed interests have feared someone like Chavez. Of course, the right-wing media machine says nothing of term limits for the U.S. ally Egypt. How long has Mubarak been president there? Egypt doesn't even have free and fair elections. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/09/AR2005120901837.html

With free and fair internationally observed elections, I don't see the need for term limits either. In fact, I would even go as far as to say they are hurting the U.S. We would be impeaching Bush right now if the Democrats didn't have the excuse that he can't run for reelection and it's just better to wait for him to leave.

Excellent points all.

Yeah, we couldn't have another FDR anywhere in the world. Least of all Venezuela, which has been fucked over by a long string of Herbert Hoovers.

And yes, I think an abolition of term limits is in order in the US--particularly since it keeps impeachment from being removed from the table.

In fact, I think the term-limit amendment should be replaced with one subjecting a president to an automatic recall referendum at half-term if a significant segment of the electorate petitions for it--as in zany, undemocratic Venezuela!