Venezuelan constitutional referendum, December 1999

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A constitutional referendum was held in Venezuela on 15 December 1999.[1] Voters were asked whether they approved of the new constitution drawn up by the Constitutional Assembly elected earlier in the year. The question was:

Do you endorse the new Constitution drafted by the National Constituent Assembly?

It was approved by 71.8% of voters, although turnout was only 44.4%.[2]


Choice Votes %
For 3,301,475 71.8
Against 1,298,105 28.2
Invalid/blank votes 220,206
Total 4,819,786 100
Source: Nohlen


Some in Venezuela believed that the new constitution centralized the national government greatly, granting it too much power while also making too many promises.[3] Henrique Capriles Radonski, then Vice President of the Congress and President of the Chamber of Deputies, stated "This is a centralist, presidentialist constitution with no spread of power to the states and cities ... This is a corrupt constitution that will leave Venezuela backward and poor".[3] Others scoffed at all of the red tape the constitution granted which would scare away foreign investment while also recognizing over-reliance on imported goods.[3]

Weeks before the election, tens of thousands protested against the constitutional changes on 24 November 1999, stating that it granted the president, Hugo Chávez, too much power.[3] Chávez responded to his opposition, stating "Those who side with the 'No' vote should get ready because the attack will be merciless ... I will put my boots on and unsheathe my sword".[3]


  1. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p555 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  2. ^ Nohlen, p567
  3. ^ a b c d e Murdock, Deroy (14 December 1999). "VIEW FROM THE U.S.: Power grab has some Venezuelans worried: A6". The Windsor Star.