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    Venezuela's leader seeks unlimited presidential terms

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    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will soon submit to the parliament a draft law abolishing presidential term limits.

    BUENOS AIRES, July 13 (RIA Novosti) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will soon submit to the parliament a draft law abolishing presidential term limits.

    "The bill will help make amendments to the country's Constitution to lift restrictions on the number of presidential terms," said Cilia Flores, Venezuelan parliament speaker. "The president should have the right to nominate himself an unlimited number of times, since the nation has the last say anyway."

    The Venezuelan president is elected by direct vote, and functions as both head of state and head of government. The term of office is six years, and a president may be re-elected to a single consecutive term.

    Flores said Chavez could submit the bill before late next week.

    "If a Venezuelan president is a wise ruler of his country, he can be re-elected as long as the people of Venezuela grant him confidence," Flores said.

    Chavez first pledged to amend the Constitution after he won the presidential election on December 3, 2006. "I do not think we have the right to deprive the people of the opportunity for re-electing the leader they have come to like for a fourth, fifth or sixth term," Chavez said.

    Earlier, the Venezuelan parliament granted Chaves vast powers of independent legislative initiative.

    The draft law would enable Chavez to make laws aimed at fully nationalizing the country's economy, including energy and telecommunications, within the next 18 months.

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