Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies cast light on dark history

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

Bolivians approve constitutional reforms

©

Video by George HARRIS

Latest update : 2009-01-26

An initial vote count shows that Bolivians have approved a new constitution with 60% in favour. An earlier tally had led to inconclusive results in a referendum that is set to give President Evo Morales the right to run for re-election.

AFP - Bolivians on Sunday approved sweeping constitutional changes that would bring greater political power to the country's indigenous majority and lets President Evo Morales run for re-election.
   
Exit polls by two of the country's largest television networks showed that the new constitution would be approved by a comfortable margin. Partial official results are due early Monday, with final results expected in three or four days.
   
"Now Bolivia is being re-founded!" Morales told supporters who gathered at the Plaza de Armas in La Paz to hear him speak from the balcony of the presidential palace.
   
"Here the colonial state ends, and internal and external colonialism end," said the leftist Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president.
   
Morales called on the country's governors and mayors "to work together to implement the new constitution."
   
The new document scraps the single-term limit for the president, allowing Morales to stand for a second five-year term.
   
The changes also allow 36 indigenous communities and groups to win the right to territory, language and their own "community" justice, and enacts agrarian reform measures by limiting the size of landholdings.
   
The referendum was approved by 60 percent of the votes cast, according to the Unitel television network. ATB television network reported it was approved by 58 percent.
   
However the exit polls also showed that the referendum was badly defeated in the eastern departments of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando, hotbeds of activity against the leftist president.
   
Morales earlier said that he expected the measure to be approved by 70 percent of voters, so the results encouraged his opponents.
   
In Chuquisaca, Governor Savina Cuellar held a rally and called for her people to refuse to abide by the document.
   
Santa Cruz Governor Ruben Costas told supporters at a rally that hundreds of thousands of Bolivians voted against the measure, and that this shows that the opposition has gained strength.
   
Tarija governor Mario Cossio, another Morales opponent, and called for a "national pact" -- negotiations with between Morales and eastern governors -- that could lead to a new constitution.
   
And former vicepresident Victor Hugo Cardenas said that if voters did not vote for the referendum in Bolivia's nine departments it would be considered illegitimate and fuel divisions.
   
The eastern Bolivian governors are seeking increased autonomy and more authority over mineral resources -- especially oil and gas -- found in their region.
   
Some Catholic and evangelical clerics had opposed the referendum, fearing that the new constitution's declaration that the country is "independent" from religion could pave the way for abortion rights and gay marriage.
   
Ahead of the vote Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera made it clear that the national result was binding and applied to all Bolivians.
   
Although Morales is widely popular, his rise has heightened deep geographic, racial and class divisions in the country that are not expected to ease with the vote.
   
Bolivia already flirted with unrest bordering on civil war in September, when 20 indigenous government supporters were killed in a northern state.
   
Conflict has been brewing since Morales took office in 2005 and announced he would upset a social a centuries-old political order inherited from Spanish colonial times and subsequent military regimes.
   
The opposition, led by state governors in the country's more prosperous east, fear that Morales' march towards a socialist state is taking their nation into the orbit of Venezuela's fervently anti-US president, Hugo Chavez, and away from economic efficiency.
   
Morales's nationalization of the telecommunications and gas sectors has scared off foreign investors, worsening state finances that are now also battered by the global economic crisis.
 

 

Date created : 2009-01-26

Comments

COMMENT(S)