Chavez Loses Constitutional Vote
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez suffered a stunning defeat Monday in a referendum that would have let him run for re-election indefinitely and impose a socialist system in this major U.S. oil provider.
Voters defeated the sweeping measures Sunday by a vote of 51 percent to 49 percent, said Tibisay Lucena, chief of the National Electoral Council, with voter turnout at just 56 percent.
She said that with 88 percent of the votes counted, the trend was irreversible.
Opposition supporters shouted with joy as Lucena announced the results on national television early Monday, their first victory against Chavez after nine years of electoral defeats.
Credit to Chavez for respecting this result. It sounds strange to say that, but Latin America, unfortuately, is not famous for its fealty to democracy.