Monday, August 11, 2008

Morales wins Bolivia poll

Bolivia's President Evo Morales has claimed victory in a referendum on whether he should continue in power.

Unofficial results gave Mr Morales a convincing win, and he promised to continue his reforms, including the nationalisation of key industries.

Four of six opposition governors, who have led protests against the president and demand more autonomy, also won the right to stay in office. ...

"We're here to move forward with the recovery of our natural resources, the consolidation of nationalisation, and the state takeover of companies," he told the crowd from the balcony of the presidential palace.

The president congratulated the opposition governors who were re-confirmed in their posts and urged them "to work together" with him.

Unofficial exit polls said Mr Morales had won more than 60% of the vote. Official results are expected in next few days. ...

Bolivia has become increasingly divided between rich and poor, east and west, over the president's plans to radically reorganise the way the country is run, says the BBC's Daniel Schweimler in La Paz.

Mr Morales wants to give poor and indigenous communities and women a greater voice, and he wants to redistribute land in what is South America's poorest country, our correspondent adds.

But many in the gas and oil-rich east of the country oppose the president's proposals and have responded by calling for greater autonomy from central government.


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