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Last Updated: Friday, 4 January 2008, 06:34 GMT
Chavez in major cabinet reshuffle
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. File photo
Mr Chavez insists he will push on with reform plans
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced a major cabinet reshuffle - weeks after his reform proposals were defeated in a referendum in December.

Mr Chavez said he would make 13 changes, including the replacement of Vice-President Jorge Rodriguez.

Mr Rodriguez was blamed by many Chavez supporters for the defeat of the proposals on constitutional changes.

The referendum would also have given Mr Chavez increased powers and the right to run for re-election indefinitely.

But Venezuelans voted 51% to 49% against the proposals on 2 December.

'New offensive'

Mr Chavez said Mr Rodriguez would be replaced with Ramon Carrizales, currently a housing minister.

He declined to give details on most of the other changes saying he would speak to his ministers first.

Last month, President Chavez decried the opposition's success at the referendum, and said he would not give up on his reform plans.

"A new offensive is coming," he said.

Mr Chavez, whose mandate lasts until 2013, suggested that his supporters might take his ideas and modify them to make them simpler.

A petition signed by 15% of voters could demand that a new referendum be looked at.

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