Chavez set to receive decree powers Wednesday

Venezuela's Congress has delayed by a day its vote to give president Hugo Chavez decree powers enabling him to nationalise oil and utility assets and strip the central bank of its autonomy.

Congress postponed action until Wednesday to hold an open-air voting session in Caracas's central square - increasing public exposure.

"This 'Enabling Law' transforms the president of the republic of Venezuela into an emperor - Emperor Chavez," said Teodoro Petkoff, an opposition leader.

Chavez says he needs