Monday, August 11, 2008

Bolivia votes

Bolivians went to the polls yesterday in a recall referendum on their President and eight of nine regional governors. The recall referendum was organised in an effort to confirm President Evo Morales' mandate in the face of growing opposition from Bolivia's rich to his reforms, and early exit polls suggest he will be successful. However, a couple of the Governors are likely to lose their posts, forcing by-elections in those regions.

Unfortunately, the referendum is not likely to settle anything. The major problem in Bolivia is the same as in Venezuela: a former ruling oligarchy unwilling to accept being voted out of power by the masses. In Venezuela, this has led to a coup attempt, abuse of media ownership, and a sustained attempt to undermine democracy. Unfortunately, Bolivia seems to be headed down the same path.