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Americas

Morales enacts new constitution

Video by Shona BHATTACHARYYA

Latest update : 2009-02-08

President Evo Morales has announced the beginning of "communitarian socialism" and enacted a new constitution to "refound Bolivia," a policy aimed at empowering the country's indigenous majority.


  
AFP - President Evo Morales on Saturday announced the beginning of "communitarian socialism" in Bolivia as he enacted a new constitution that empowers the country's indigenous majority and allows him to seek reelection.
  
The move is key to Morales' promise to "re-found Bolivia," South America's poorest country, and overturn a centuries-old political and social order inherited from Spanish colonial times.
  
Morales, the first indigenous president since Bolivia declared independence from Spain in 1825, said in a speech that right-wing opposition groups have tried to remove him from power and even kill him ever since he took office in 2006.
  
"Now I can say: you can take me out of the (government) palace, you can kill me ... mission accomplished for a united Bolivia," he told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters in the working-class town of El Alto, a bastion of Morales support, just outside the capital La Paz.
  
The sweeping constitutional changes 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.
  
It also scraps the single-term limit for the president, allowing Morales to stand for a second five-year term.
  
Guests included the head of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, and indigenous Guatemalan activist and 1992 Nobel Peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchu.
  
The constitution was approved by 61 percent of voters in a January 25 referendum. However it was rejected in the wealthy regions of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando, hotbeds of anti-Morales activity.
  

Date created : 2009-02-07

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