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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 04:47 GMT
Venezuela head seeks party merger
By Greg Morsbach
BBC News, Caracas

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Chavez says he is rooting out bureaucracy
Venezuela's left-wing President Hugo Chavez has confirmed that he wants to merge all his coalition partners into a single political party.

He says this will help him lead his socialist revolution.

The information minister has now confirmed that the new ruling bloc will be called Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela.

The move has sparked accusations from the opposition here that he is turning Venezuela into a second Cuba.

President Chavez seems frustrated with the sluggish pace of his socialist revolution in Venezuela and is hoping that these changes will speed things up.

Opposition members have already reacted with deep mistrust.

They say Mr Chavez is trying to accumulate as much personal power in the state as possible.

The opposition accuses Venezuela's socialist leader of following in the footsteps of his old friend and ally Fidel Castro, who also created a governing unity party in his native Cuba.

But Mr Chavez says he is not anti-democratic and that he's simply rooting out inefficiency and bureaucracy by streamlining Venezuela's political landscape.






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