Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Left Wins Majority Of Seats In Bolivian Elections

Although official figures have not yet been released, unofficial estimates have put Evo Morales' party, MAS (The Movement for Socialism) winning somewhere between 130-135 seats out of 255, giving them the majority.
Bolivia has been dominated by the Right for years, & with Evo Morales & this election, a sense of optimisn seems to be emerging.
After 10 years of struggle, with many wounded, killed & imprisoned, the movement was able to come together, build a mass support & become powerful enough to overthrow goverments. A party built out of social movements, MAS, has been able to show itself as an able alternative & actually win the Presidential election last year.
Morales has gained widespread support for his literacy & health programs, land redistribution, & renationalisation of the gas industry.
Although MAS won a majority of seats this election, it did not win the required 2/3 majority they needed to alter the constitution. The US has made this out to be a defeat for MAS, even though they won more seats than all the other party's, but this is typical of United States media.
Another topic this election was the voting for the Autonomy Referendum. This vote would give regions greater autonomy from central goverment. MAS has urged a 'NO' vote, & the 'Right' backs the referendum because it would allow the richest areas with the highest proportion of "Spanish" Bolivians to cut themselves off from "Indian" regions, & they want to have the power to oppose progressive taxation & other Left policies for areas where the rich & elite reside.
Right now, it looks as if the 'NO' vote has won with around 53% of the vote, but this has yet to be confirmed.
Success by Morales' MAS party in Bolivia has given hope to many that democratic socialism is a real viable alternative to U.S. imperialism & Bolivian capitalism.