Tuesday, June 29th 2004 - 21:00 UTC

Majority favour ousting Venezuela president Chavez.

A majority of Venezuelans, 54% would vote to oust President Hugo Chavéz in the August 15 recall referendum, according to the latest opinion polls published over the weekend.

Mercanalisis confirmed the tendency of other opinion polls, with 54% against Mr. Chavez, 33% in favour of him remaining in office while 13% said they were still undecided. The official campaign for the referendum begins next July 15.

Metropolitan Caracas the country's capital and where a significant portion of Venezuelan live is split in 50% and 35%, although 51% of those interviewed have a negative opinion of Chavez administration performance and 42% a positive one.

As to the recall referendum 85% said they would be voting and 12% will not go to the polls August 15.

The opinion poll involved 900 interviews in five of the countries main cities and was done between May 20 and June 5, after Venezuela autonomous electoral organization accepted the recall referendum.

However President Chavez dismisses the polls as part of the campaign to discredit him and forecasts he will win with a landslide.

President Chavez also called a group of US Congressmen "war dogs" and accused the opposition of favouring Washington's intervention in Venezuela.

Last week several US Senators made some non charming comments about the political situation in Venezuela and proposed the Chavez regime be declared "hostile".

"They are the war dogs who pretend to dominate the world ?imperialists, very much loved by the Venezuelan opposition who want to the hand the country to them", claimed President Chavez in his Sunday broadcast "Hello, President".

Venezuela is the US fourth supplier of oil.

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