With the approval of yesterday’s Venezuelan referendum, not only will President Hugo Chavez be eligible to run again when his current term ends in 2012 (and again in 2019…), but also we have one less country with legislative term limits. The referendum removes term limits on all elected officials, not only the president. Venezuela’s Chavista constitution was among the very few countries where national legislators have (or had) limits on the number of terms they can serve.
Mexico has prohibited consecutive terms for legislators since the 1930s, as has Costa Rica since the 1940s. I believe the Philippines still has limits on the number of terms its legislators may serve. Ecuador did at one time, but I recall they were lifted. (Maybe someone knows the details.) Of course, several US states have such limits. But legislative term limits are rare overall. They just became a bit rarer.
For lots of graphs and other analysis of the referendum, see Caracas Chronicles. See also boz’s five points. Greg Weeks makes a point with which I heartily concur: “I would add that the opposition deserves more analytical scrutiny, given that Chávez has been in power a decade [in which there have been regular elections] but it remains fragmented and incoherent.”