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Last Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006, 11:18 GMT
Chavez could seek further terms
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez warned the US "not to mess with him"
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez says he may seek to lift a constitutional limit on successive presidential terms.

During his weekly TV show on Sunday, he announced he was thinking of calling a referendum to allow him to run for another term in the 2012 elections.

Mr Chavez, who faces re-election this year, said he did not fear competition.

Mr Chavez was first elected in 1998 and then again in 2000 after the approval of a constitution under which he is barred from running in 2012.

He insisted he would allow the Venezuelan people to vote on the issue.

"If there is no opposition candidate, I would consider signing a decree to hold a referendum asking 'Do you agree Chavez should be allowed to seek a new term?' and let's let the people decide."

"It is just an idea that I am working on," he added.

During the six-hour broadcast Mr Chavez continued a war of words with the Bush administration, which has described him as a challenge to democracy.

In a mock address to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice he warned her not to "mess with me, girl!"

Last week, Ms Rice warned that Mr Chavez was one of the biggest dangers facing Latin America.

She said the Venezuelan president was trying to influence others away from democracy, and called for a united front against him.

Mr Chavez responded by accusing the US of aggression, adding that "world opinion is with Venezuela".

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