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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 15:32 GMT
Chavez defeat: Reaction in quotes
Reaction to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's defeat in a referendum on controversial constitutional changes which included an end to presidential term limits.

HUGO CHAVEZ

To those who voted against my proposal, I thank them and congratulate them... You won it. I wouldn't have wanted that Pyrrhic victory...

We haven't achieved our objectives - for the time being.

But I'd like to stress that we kept our promise and I have a clear conscience. We recognise and accept the decision taken by the Venezuelan people...

We're continuing the battle, building socialism. I want you to know that I'm not withdrawing a single comma from this proposal. I'll continue putting the proposal to the Venezuelan people.

MILOS ALCALAY, EX-DIPLOMAT AND CHAVEZ CRITIC

'For the time being' - what does that mean?

That is very worrying because the Venezuelan people in a majority vote rejected this socialist project for the 21st Century and the Venezuelans want a democratic project for the 21st Century...

The first obligation he [Hugo Chavez] has as chief of government and chief of state is to open a dialogue with the representatives of this new majority.

SAMUEL MONCADA, VENEZUELAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UK

Once again the Venezuelan democracy and the Venezuelan people have shown to the world that we have a healthy and strong democracy, with a healthy opposition and a healthy government party.

Those who won last night are spreading innuendoes that we are not obeying the law, not enforcing our constitution, when it's exactly the opposite.

LEOPOLDO LOPEZ, OPPOSITION MAYOR OF CARACAS' CHACAO MUNICIPALITY

We are all very happy because the results today are not the results of a political party winning over another, it's democracy winning over an authoritarian project.

Venezuela won today, democracy won today, and I am sure that this victory for the Venezuelan people will have a very important impact in the rest of Latin America.

OLIVIA GOUMBRI, GOVERNMENT-FUNDED VENEZUELA INFORMATION OFFICE

It shows the level of democratic participation in Venezuela, the ability of the Venezuelan people to vote for and against the reforms, to be calm and accept the result.

So I think it's a really interesting take on what's going on in Venezuela in the sense that although the majority of the population voted for Chavez last year, they also have the ability to make up their own minds.

The fact that we see that an effort he proposed has not gone through, I think really is a testament to the amount of democratic processes that are going on in this country.

GEN RAUL BADUEL, FORMER DEFENCE MINISTER AND CHAVEZ ALLY

We have to recognise that a portion of Venezuelan society has supported the president, but also today it's been shown that dissent has its place in unity - that is what we should now accept in our country: unity in diversity...

The president wanted to force Venezuelans to accept a project that was his. He presented it to the public, he began the conversation and wanted to impose his will on us, manipulating people's feelings. The proposals for change did not come from the public, as they should have...

NICHOLAS BURNS, US UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE

This was positive news to see this victory by the citizens of Venezuela because we felt that this referendum was a referendum to make Chavez president for life and that's not ever a welcome development in a country that wants to be a democracy



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