(Reuters) - President Hugo Chavez’s congressional supporters on Friday approved a raft of constitutional changes, including scrapping presidential term limits and empowering police to detain Venezuelans without charge in “emergencies.”
Venezuelans are likely to approve the reform in a referendum slated for December despite many voters’ concerns Chavez is becoming increasingly authoritarian, pollsters say.
The following are some of the package’s main proposals:
* Lifts the existing two-term limit for presidents and extends the term from six to seven years.
* Lowers the voting age to 16 from 18.
* Allows the president to create and eliminate provinces, districts and “communal cities” via decree and name the authorities in charge of them.
* Ends the central bank’s autonomy and gives the president direct control over foreign currency reserves.
* Prioritizes collective interests over individual interests in constitutional goal of creating a socialist economy.
* Reduces the work day to six hours from eight.
* Extends social security to some self-employed workers.
* Allows security forces to arrest citizens without charge and opens the way to censoring media during natural disasters or political “emergencies” declared by the president.
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