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February 10, 2009

Wikipedia: Bolivian Constituent Assembly

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The Bolivian Constituent Assembly, convened on August 6, 2006 in Sucre, with the purpose of drafting a new national constitution by December 14, 2007; extended from the original deadline of August 6, 2007.

On November 24, 2007 the Constituent Assembly approved a preliminary draft of the constitution in full. [1] Disputes over the content of this text and procedures of its approval have aggravated political conflict in Bolivia and led to the deaths of three people. Opposition and conservative sectors including the “media luna” denounced the text claiming the procedure of its passage was illegal, passed with a third of constituent delegates absent (from minority conservative parties). Despite inclusive wording of the text, opponents have claimed the new document only represents indigenous peoples, discriminating against mixed (mestizo), white (European) populations. MAS and its allies have claimed the opposition boycotted the vote and incited violent student protests against the assembly, forcing its move to a military school on the outskirts of the city for protection.[2]

On December 8, 2007 the Constituent Assembly moved its sessions to Oruro, citing safety concerns. Most members of opposition parties boycotted the meeting. 165 of the 255 delegates attended and participated in the voting. The final draft constitution was approved article by article in a marathon voting session through the night, completing approval of the draft on December 9, 2007. Leaders of several opposition parties and conservative civic committees in 5 departments stated they will not recognize the new text, claiming it was approved illegally. The new constitutional text will go to a national referendum sometime in 2008 for popular approval before codification.

On December 14, 2007 the President of the Constituent Assembly, Silvia Lazarte and members of the Directory Panel presented the complete text [3] to the Bolivian National Congress to legislate a referendum. The following day marches and rallies were held in the capital La Paz in favor of the new Constitution while in the departmental capital of Santa Cruz rallies were held in favor of an extra-constitutional “Autonomy Statute.”[4]

On October 23, 2008, the Bolivian Congress approved holding a referendum on a new constitution supported by President Morales to empower the allegedly long oppressed indigenous majority of the country. The referendum took take place on 25 January, 2009, with sources sayng it was likely to pass.[5] With a 61.7% majority, the constitution came into effect on February 7.

External links

  • Asamblea Constituyente
  • Bolivia Information Forum – The Constituent Assembly

References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Bolivia: Three Dead in Capital Conflict, Andean Information Network
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7683707.stm

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