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Archive for Monday, January 26, 2009

Voters support new pro-indigenous charter

January 26, 2009

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— 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.

But the charter’s low support in Bolivia’s lowland east — which controls much of the nation’s wealth and fiercely opposes Morales’ plans to empower long-suffering highland Indians — leaves the racially torn country as divided as ever.

Its passage nevertheless marked a historic transition in a nation where the oldest voters can still recall when Indians were forbidden to vote.

The central reform of Morales’ three-year administration won 59 percent to 41 percent, according to an unofficial quick count by television network ATB, with a three-percentage point margin of error. A final tally will be announced in 10 days.

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