|AP photo / Fernando Llano|
Both opponents and supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s constitutional reform referendum interpreted the outcome of the vote optimistically.
Hugo Chavez sounded an optimistic note Monday after ending up on the losing end of a vote—by a slim 51 to 49 percent margin—that would have expanded his constitutional powers as Venezuela’s president and instituted changes in federal fund allocation and labor policy, among other proposed developments.
AP via Breitbart.com:
Opposition activists were ecstatic as the results were announced shortly after midnight—with 88 percent of the vote counted, the trend was declared irreversible by elections council chief Tibisay Lucena.
Some shed tears. Others began chanting: “And now he’s going away!”
Without the overhaul, Chavez will be barred from running again in 2012.
Foes of the reform effort—including Roman Catholic leaders, media freedom groups, human rights groups and prominent business leaders—said it would have granted Chavez unchecked power and imperiled basic rights.
Chavez told reporters at the presidential palace that the outcome of Sunday’s balloting had taught him that “Venezuelan democracy is maturing.” His respect for the verdict, he asserted, proves he is a true democratic leader.
“From this moment on, let’s be calm,” he proposed, asking for no more street violence like the clashes that marred pre-vote protests. “There is no dictatorship here.”