Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, that the upcoming election of an assembly responsible for drafting a new constitution was necessary for a transformation of the nation's democracy and public institutions.
Shortly after taking office in 1999, Chavez called a national referendum to ask voters if they supported a proposal to elect a special assembly responsible for drafting a new constitution.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the proposal and the constitution drafted by the assembly that same year. The assembly, which was packed with Chavez's political allies, extended presidential terms from four to six years and increased the executive branch's power over the military.
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