<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Bolivia Voters Say “Yes” to New Constitution

Turnout Estimated at 3.8 Million, With at Least 60 Percent in Favor


By Erin Rosa
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

January 26, 2009

Cochabamba, Bolivia; January 25, 2009: A majority of Bolivians have approved a new constitution giving indigenous groups greater autonomy rights and also a referendum limiting the size of future purchases of land in the Andean nation, according to projected results from late Sunday evening.

The campaign supporting the constitution has declared victory with a total of 60 percent of the vote. Four departments in the central and western region of the country, where support is strong for Bolivian president Evo Morales, approved the new constitutional text, while five remaining departments with a history of opposing the president’s policies in the eastern region voted against the measure. Majorities in the La Paz, Cochabamba, Oruro and Potosí departments voted yes, while those in Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni, Pando and Chuquisaca voted no.

Voters also approved a ballot question to limit future purchases of land in the country to 5,000 hectares, results show, although most large plots of land that were privately-owned before the passage of the constitution will remain untouched by the national government.

Morales, the country’s first indigenous president, voted Sunday morning in the rural Chapare providence located in northern Cochabamba, an area where he lead a union of coca leaf growers before being elected in 2005. It is the third major electoral victory for Morales following a recall vote in August last year where he was given more than two-thirds of the popular vote.

At least 300 observers from a wide array of organizations in Latin America, Europe and the United States monitored voting during the election.

UPDATE

Note to readers: A current recount of the results in the Chuquisaca department now show that the new constitution was approved by 51 percent to 49 percent, meaning that five of the country’s nine departments have now voted for the measure.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America