On December 2, 2007, Venezuelan voters rejected constitutional reforms proposed by Venezualan President Hugo Chavez. The reforms were rejected by a margin of 51 to 49 percent and was Chavez's first electoral defeat. The reforms would have allowed Chavez to stand indefinitely for re-election, handpick local leaders under a new political map, create new types of communal property, and suspend civil liberties during states of emergency. Chavez received harsh criticism from his rivals for attempting to consolidate his power base. The Venezualan National Assembly had previously approved the same amendments on November 3, 2007. Venezuelan voters approved a similar constitutional amendment that abolished presidential terms limits in February 2009, clearing the way for Chavez to run for re-election in 2012.
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