CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez backed the possibility of holding a national referendum, if he’s re-elected, on whether to shut down private television stations that he has accused of subversive activities.

Chavez’s comments late Thursday came amid rising tensions between the government and the country’s largely opposition-aligned private media ahead of Sunday’s vote.

Chavez was asked in a televised interview if he would consider asking the nation whether the government should block certain channels from renewing their broadcast licenses next year.

“That is perfectly possible,” Chavez said. “It’s perfectly possible that the country gives its opinion, including for how long.”

Chavez also said he regretted not having shut down the country’s major private broadcasters right after a short-lived 2002 coup against him, citing four in particular: Globovision, Venevision, RCTV and Televen.

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