Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday he would leave office when his current term ends if voters reject a proposal that would allow him to run for re-election indefinitely.
Venezuela's National Assembly, controlled by Chavez supporters, last week approved holding a referendum on amending the constitution to allow indefinite presidential re-elections. Voters are likely to cast ballots on the issue in mid-February.
"In the supposed case that we would lose" the referendum, Chavez said in statements broadcast on Venezuelan television, "I would begin to pack my bags, count my remaining months and years, and work intensely to prepare for ... whoever comes after me."
If the political opposition "obtains a victory, I would be the first to come out here to recognize it," he said.
Currently Venezuelan presidents can only run for re-election once, at the end of their six-year term in office.
Chavez, first elected president in 1998, was re-elected in 2006 for a term that ends in February 2013. Venezuela's constitution was changed in late 1999, allowing Chavez to run for an additional re-election.
Hoy es día del Guerrillero Heróico - Imagen realizada por el equipo de medios de la Misión Negra Hipólita, en honor al Guerrillero Heróico, inmortal Che Guevara.
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