Bolivia’s Opposition Resists Morales’ Mandate
10 Apr 09 | PTV
While President Evo Morales is on hunger strike, Bolivia’s opposition in the Senate refuses to pass a measure allowing the president a second term.
“They must think they can wear me out,” Morales told reporters, recalling that in 2004, one year before he was elected president, he went ‘more than 18 days’ without food after he was expelled from Congress.
Twenty-four hours into his fast on Friday, Morales again vowed to refuse taking nourishment until the electoral measure passed the Senate.
Morales’ ruling government controls the presidency and holds a firm grip on congress’s lower house, but opposition lawmakers retain control of the senate.
The test of wills has already forced Morales to cancel a scheduled visit to Cuba, and he said that more than 1,000 people from scores of organizations across the country were backing his move, launching into hunger strikes of their own.
The Coca grower’s union of Chapare said on Friday that ‘it was ready to send protesters marching on La Paz to press senators to pass the electoral measure.’
The electoral bill, mandated in the new constitution approved in January, would set a December 6 date for a national poll.
The controversial quota allows, among other things, for Morales — South America’s first indigenous head of state — to run for reelection for another five-year term.