Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 33° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Bolivians OK rewriting constitution

By DAN KEANE Associated Press

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Bolivian voters embraced a new constitution Sunday that promises more power for the poor indigenous majority and grants leftist President Evo Morales a shot at remaining in office through 2014.

“Brothers and sisters, the colonial state ends here,” Morales, 49, told a huge crowd in front of the presidential palace after the results were announced. “Here we begin to reach true equality for all Bolivians.”

But opposition leaders object that the constitution does not reflect Bolivia’s growing urban population, which mixes both Indian blood and tradition with a new Western identity, and could leave non-Indians out of the picture. They also oppose Morales’ vision of greater state control of the economy.

The constitution’s rejection by the nation’s mestizo and European-descended minority foreshadows a political battle over how to interpret vague clauses outlining hotly contested eastern autonomies.

The charter calls for a general election in December in which Morales could run for a second, consecutive five-year term. The current constitution permits two terms, but not consecutively.

At the heart of the constitution is a provision granting autonomy for 36 indigenous “nations” and several opposition-controlled eastern states. But both are given a vaguely defined “equal rank” that fails to resolve their rival claims over open land in Bolivia’s fertile eastern lowlands, whose large agribusiness interests and valuable gas reserves drive much of the country’s economy.

The constitution also limits the size of future land holdings.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com