Chavez aims to raise cap on presidential terms

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Saturday he would be open to again changing Venezuela's constitution to raise the cap on consecutive presidential terms. "I think that the Bolivarian Constitution may need to be reformed in some parts and that also the people should not be stripped of their right if they wish to re-elect a compatriot - whoever it may be - three, four, five, six times to steer the nation," he said to cheers. Chavez was first elected in 1998. A new constitution adopted the following year introduced a two-term presidential limit instead of one, allowing Chavez to be re-elected in 2000 elections held under the new charter. The Supreme Court has since ruled that he can run again for a third term this year because his initial election came when a different constitution was in effect. Critics of Chavez, most among the more educated and wealthier electorate, have accused him of fixing previous elections and have repeatedly complained that the president is trying to cement his grip on the Venezuelan people dictator-style, making it nearly impossible to vote him out of office.