[Marxism] Egged on by US, Bolivia rulers seek to bar elections, block Morales

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Oct 5 02:52:54 MDT 2005

Bolivian president will resign if elections are postponed


Bolivian caretaker President Eduardo Rodriguez threatened to resign if
the general elections scheduled for December 4 should be postponed
because Congress cannot agree on the redrawing of the country's
electoral district map.

"If the Electoral Court decides that it's impossible to hold the
elections next December, I will immediately return to my office as
president of the Supreme Court", warned Mr. Rodriguez during a
surprise national address repeated over the weekend.
Next October 15 is de deadline for Congress to agree on the
redistribution of the number of seats for each of the country's
regions following a recent ruling from the Constitutional Court.

Caretaker president Rodriguez took office last June 9, following
Carlos Mesa's resignation, and a political understanding which made
the heads of the Senate and Lower House move aside and accept the
third line for the presidential seat, that is Supreme Court president.

"My appointment clearly established the task and time period for the
orderly transfer of power to a newly elected president: that period
ends 180 days from the very day I was sworn in" recalled President
Rodriguez adding that "I have a specific mandate to fulfil, to convene
elections to legitimize elected officials at the polls and guarantee
an impartial electoral process".

He added that if December elections are postponed "the constitution's
mandate, the people's trust and my designation would not be
fulfilled", and in that emergency, "which I hope does not occur, my
duty as a man of law is to return to the Supreme Court", he
emphasized. Mr. Rodriguez revealed that he had informed Congress by
writing of his decision.

Bolivia's Lower House is currently discussing a redistribution of
Congressional seats following on the results of the 2001 census. The
rich provinces of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba are set to win seats in
the new electoral map, while La Paz, Oruro and Potosi would lose

If this happens the presidential candidate who's ahead in the opinion
polls, Indian leader Evo Morales would see his legislative support
weaken and could represent a fatal blow for his aspirations since the
election run off, according to Bolivia's Constitution, is decided in

Since none of the hopefuls has a clear majority it's almost certain
Congress will nominate Bolivia's next president, and it's not the
first time a congressional coalition thwarts the most voted candidate.

In this particular case Bolivia's rich provinces favour greater
regional autonomy, mainly fiscal, and support private participation in
the country's promising hydrocarbons industry. Mr. Morales and the
poor provinces want centralization to remain and are lobbying strongly
for outright nationalization of all mineral resources.

Actually the oil and gas controversy has had Bolivia in permanent
political turmoil and social unrest, besides ousting two presidents.

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