Thursday, December 06, 2007

Again, Putting Democracy First In Bolivia

La Paz (digitalwarriormedia): President Evo Morales announced Wednesday he would ask for a referendum on whether he should remain president, & has now challenged the country´s nine regional governors to do the same.

The plans to overhaul Bolivia’s constitution have re-ignited long-running conflicts between the Altiplano indigenous regions and wealthier euro-colonial lowland. This, as many of European descent in the lowlands continue to refer to Morales publicly as "that f%?king indian".

In an effort to address the conflict, the democratically elected President proposed a referendum to decide whether he and nine regional governors should remain in their posts. Six of the country’s nine regions are controlled by his opponents. However, Evo enjoys great support with the overwhelming native majorities, the poor & international agencies pursuing democracy around the world.

If the people say ‘Evo’s going,’ I’ve got no problem — I’m democratic,” Mr. Morales, a once coca farmer, said in a televised speech. “The people will say who’s going and who’s staying to guarantee this process of change.”

He said he would send a bill to Congress on Thursday to call the referendum vote.

Bolivia’s sweeping constitutional changes, a major project for the Morales government, are at the center of a power struggle between Mr. Morales and his Euro-centric rivals, who are concentrated in lowland areas that are also home to large natural gas fields.

That constitutional vote set off violent protests by the oppostion in the southern city of Sucre, the seat of the assembly; at least three people were killed when the opposition attacked supporters of the democratically elected governement.

The Constitutional Assembly will announce on December 14 whether it has approved the new charter in full before it goes to a referendum vote before the Bolivian people.

"If they are really democratic, let's bet on democracy," he said, challenging the opposition among Bolivia's provincial governors.



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