martedì, gennaio 27, 2009

Bloggings by boz: Five points on Bolivia's constitutional referendum

Five points on Bolivia's constitutional referendum

The new constitution passed with about 58% of the vote according to early results (which may change slightly over the next few hours).

It's a majority. Bolivia is a country that rarely saw majority approval for any policy a few years ago. Having won well over 50% again, Evo has a mandate. Over half the country voted him in, over half voted against recalling him and over half now support his efforts through the constitution to build upon his policies.

...but it's below expectations. Having won over 67% in the recall referendum last year, this constitutional referendum shows a drop in support. Yes, it's a slightly different issue, but it's a significant drop and below the expectations set by the government (who predicted a win at least in the high 60's) and below what many analysts predicted.

...and it lost in at least four provinces. Preliminary results show the four media luna provinces voted against the constitution and Chuquisaca will be close. The results do reinforce the notion that Bolivia is a divided country. Opposition leaders are already using the results in their provinces to reject the new constitution, setting up new battles.

...and Evo faces a tough year ahead. Commodity prices are down, tax revenues are down and Bolivia is unprepared (like many on the continent) for the global economic crisis. Any president in Morales' position would be facing a tough year economically and politically. It should be a concern of his with a presidential election coming up later this year.

...but it is still a big win. Even though the vote was below expectations and regionally divided, everyone needs to acknowledge that the new constitution won with a majority mandate. This wasn't a fluke. Well over half of the country supports the president and his policies and this vote is a reflection of that reality.