Voters in Venezuela have handed President Hugo Chavez his first electoral defeat in nine years by rejecting constitutional reforms that would have greatly expanded his power.
The country's electoral authority announced Monday that 51 percent of people who cast votes in Sunday's referendum said 'no" to the 69 proposed changes. In his concession speech, President Chavez said the defeat was only "for now" and that he would continue the battle to build socialism.
Venezuelan opposition groups cheered the outcome, while a White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino called the decision a good sign for freedom and liberty in Venezuela.
The reforms would have allowed Mr. Chavez -- who first swept to power in 1998 -- to seek re-election indefinitely. The proposals also would have abolished the Central Bank's independence, limited individual rights under states of emergency and created new forms of community-owned property.