Friday, May 09, 2008

Bolivia's President Morales ready for national vote of confidence

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Thursday he was ready to withstand a national vote of confidence that was pushed through the opposition-run upper house of parliament. "This decision will give back to the Bolivian people the decision to say whether they are in favor of the process of change and justice or for the return to the past," said Morales, who was elected Bolivia's first indigenous president in 2005. The referendum would require Morales, who won the presidency with 53.7 per cent of the vote, and Bolivia's nine state governors to win both more votes and a greater percentage of support than they did in 2005 ballot. If they fall short, they will have to run again in a new general election. President Morales had first proposed a nationwide recall to Congress in January, as a means of solving the political crisis in the country amid disputes with several provinces. On Sunday, a large majority in the province of Santa Cruz - the richest in the country - approved a proposal for more autonomy from the leftist government in a non-binding referendum, which Morales deemed illegal. Congress on Thursday passed the bill ordering the recall be held within 90 days and will ask, "Do you agree with the continuation of the process of change led by President Evo Morales Ayma and Vice President Alvaro Garca Linera?" Morales said he will sign the measure.

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