Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Bolivian Assembly Shows Split in Vote
The party of Bolivian President Evo Morales has finished well ahead in the vote for an assembly which will rewrite the country's constitution.
But final results show his MAS party won 137 out 255 seats, short of the two-thirds needed for full control.
Correspondents say this could make it harder for Mr Morales to push through some of his proposed reforms.
Results from a referendum held at the same time show 57.59% voting against moves to grant regions more autonomy.
Four regions were in favour - Santa Cruz, Tarija, Pando and Beni, which are all rich in natural resources.
But the other five regions all roundly rejected the proposal.
Correspondents say it is not clear whether or not this result is a mandate for autonomy in the regions that voted for it. The situation in the economically-powerful Santa Cruz province is particularly tense.
President Morales himself was opposed to the moves to grant more regional autonomy.
Bolivia has already seen radical change since he took office in January, promising to reform the constitution and give more power to indigenous peoples.
He has already nationalised the oil and gas industries, begun redistributing land, and cut public sector salaries.
The 2 July vote for a constituent assembly put his MAS party well ahead with 137 seats, followed by the conservative Podemos alliance which won 60.
The remaining 58 seats are split between 14 other political groups.
The assembly is due to be inaugurated on 6 August, and will spend between six months and a year drawing up a new draft constitution that will then be voted on by the people.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/11 13:46:42 GMT