[Marxism] Latest vote in Bolivia
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Sun Jun 22 20:30:23 MDT 2008
Fourth Bolivian state votes for autonomy
Mon, 23 Jun 2008 05:29:38
Tension is growing high in Bolivia as the energy-rich Tarija area voted
overwhelmingly to seek greater autonomy from the central government.
The referendum in Tarija, the smallest of Bolivia's nine provinces but home to
more than 80 percent of its vast natural gas reserves, followed similar ballots
in the Amazon regions of Pando and Beni, and wealthy Santa Cruz.
Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous president has called the votes
'illegal and separatist'. His supporters called for a boycott, and more than a
third of Tarija's 173,000 registered voters did not cast ballots, early results
Partial results carried by local television showed 80.3 percent of voters backed
the autonomy plan, which would, in theory, give local leaders control over
taxes, policing and natural resources, Reuters reported.
"We need to give ourselves an opportunity, and autonomy will give us the
deep-rooted change we need, a real change that will unite Bolivia," Tarija
Governor Mario Cossio said.
Previous referendums, organized by rightist local governors, saw violent clashes
between pro- and anti-Morales demonstrators but election officials in Tarija
said Sunday's voting was generally calm.
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