Chavez Loses Constitutional Vote
Dec 3, 6:54 AM (ET)
By FRANK BAJAK
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Humbled by his first electoral defeat ever, President Hugo Chavez said Monday he may have been too ambitious in asking voters to let him stand indefinitely for re-election and endorse a huge leap to a socialist state.
"I understand and accept that the proposal I made was quite profound and intense," he said after voters narrowly rejected the sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 percent to 49 percent.
Opposition activists were ecstatic as the results were announced shortly after midnight - with 88 percent of the vote counted, the trend was declared irreversible by elections council chief Tibisay Lucena.
Some shed tears. Others began chanting: "And now he's going away!"
Without the overhaul, Chavez will be barred from running again in 2012.