Related topics

Chavez: Constitution Not Blocked

March 20, 1999

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ President Hugo Chavez said today his plans for a new constitution will go forward despite a Supreme Court decision annulling his decree convoking a national referendum on the issue.

``The constituent assembly is a fact. There is no going back,″ Chavez said.

Chavez, a former coup leader who took office 45 days ago, decreed a national referendum April 25 to let Venezuelans vote for a constituent assembly to write a new constitution, which he said was needed to root out corruption.

Late Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that Chavez’s decree was invalid because it asked Venezuelans to give the president the right to decide how the members of the assembly would be chosen.

The opposition has strongly criticized his efforts to rewrite the constitution, charging it shows a tendency for authoritarian control.

Officials said Friday the impasse can be solved by revising the decree to provide the public with more information about constituent assembly, which Chavez says will be elected by popular vote.

Update hourly