03 December 2007
Venezuela votes no.
By the narrowest of margins, the people of Venezuela voted not to pass the constitutional changes that President Hugo Chavez Frias had asked for. This means that the working day will not be reduced from eight to six hours and that social security will not be extended to the millions who work in the informal sector of the economy.
The president made a dignified concession speech and told his people that the vote had only been lost "for now". Hopefully, a full post mortem will now take place and the factors that led to the defeat can be considered. Changes will obviously have to be made before another ballot takes place.
In the meantime, the vote has to be seen as a victory for Venezuela's democracy, and a further legitimation of the previous elections and referenda that Chavez Frias has won.