Monday, October 31, 2005

The Uncertainty of Elections in Bolivia

According to the Bolivian constitution, interim president Eduardo Rodriguez must hold national elections within a timeframe of no more than 180 days from the start of his presidency last June. The realization of these elections, however, remains up in the air due to a recent ruling by Bolivia's constitutional court. Conflicts surrounding the distribution of congressional seats are now putting elections, scheduled for December 4th, at risk and bringing the country to the brink of a new crisis.

In May and June of 2005, Bolivia was embroiled in mobilizations of various social movements and social sectors motivated by the call for nationalization of the country's natural gas resources. The protests resulted in the resignation of then president, Carlos Mesa, which ultimately led to the constitutional succession of Bolivia's Supreme Court President, Rodriguez, to the presidency. It’s worth clarifying that Mesa's resignation was not a demand of those mobilized in the streets, but rather an exit of his own choosing.

The Start of the Conflict