Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday announced he was seeking a constitutional amendment to allow himself to seek reelection, saying he hoped to remain in power until 2021.
Chavez said he was directing his ruling United Socialist party (PSUV) to seek a "constitutional amendment and reelection of the president of the republic" saying he was "ready (to govern) through 2021."
"I give the PSUV and the Venezuelan people my authorization to begin the debate and take the steps necessary to obtain that constitutional amendment and reelection of the president ... and I am sure that we will get it now," Chavez said at the swearing-in of Caracas' Libertador district's mayor Jorge Rodriguez.
"I am ready, and if I am healthy, God willing, I will be with you until 2019, until 2021," the 54 year old Chavez added.
On November 24 -- almost a year after losing a vote on extending his powers -- Chavez had said "It's the people's right (to vote on the issue). We'll see if the people use this right, and if all the country approves it or not if there is a referendum."
Just over a week ago Chavez's party scored a string of victories in key local polls, but in a blow to his socialist revolution the opposition won some major power centers.
The results shook up the political landscape of the OPEC nation, reducing the almost blanket authority of the fiercely anti-liberal Chavez and his party.
"The symbols won by the opposition are more than expected: they won the capital and states representing the economic and political heart of the country," said Luis Vicente Leon from Datanalisis.
Some 45 percent of the population will now be governed by politicians from the opposition, who won in states representing around 70 percent of national economic activity.
But Chavez said at the time that the opposition had suffered a "new, big defeat. They continue overestimating what happened as a victory. That's crazy," Chavez argued.
If "we're applying scientific analysis, the popular revolutionary victory continues growing," Chavez argued.
But Chavez, a friend to Iran, Russia and communist Cuba, lost ground in his expected plan to seek support to abolish term limits to try to win a third six-year term in 2012.