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Archive for February, 2009

Refounding Bolivia

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

“Bolivia is being re-founded”.  That is what President Evo Morales told crowds in La Paz last week after the referendum on a new constitution for the country.  Indeed, having looked at what the new constitution will mean for Bolivia, it does seem to be a step forward in may areas, without being as radical as some though it may have turned out to be.

Two points in particular stand out as they appear to be a compromise of different viewpoints.

1. Whilst President Morales can re-stand for the presidential office at the next elections – scheduled for December 2009 – he will not be available for re-election after that in 2014.

2. Changes to laws on land-ownership will not be applied retrospectively, so should only affect new owners.  That may still not be welcome by some, but I am sure that previous governments – not just in Bolivia – would have been only too ready to take away land from the larger land-owners, only to give it out of principle to peoople who would not know what to do with it.

Another interesting part of the new constitution is the expansion of autonomy in the country, with a system that – at first glance, at least – sounds very much like the federal government structure in Germany.  And yet, first indications are that areas such as Santa Cruz and Tarija are against it.  This seems strange to me, as I though those areas wanted more independence?

Anyway, I guess it’s not all over yet.  The vote was obviously very close (with figures quoted just over 50% in favour).  I am sure we will hear much more about what really happens in Bolivia in the comings months.



 

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