L. Gómez: Mesa Proposes Early Elections in Bolivia
Luis Gómez: Mesa Proposes Early Elections in Bolivia
March 15, 2005
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In a televised address, President Carlos Mesa has proposed to the country, and to the national congress, early elections, to be held this August 28. The elections would be for president, vice president, senators, deputies (members of Bolivia's lower house of Congress), and, at the same time, for the members of the Constituents' Assembly. According to Mesa, these measures will be the best exit from a stalemate between two objective realities that today find themselves in conflict over the form and organization of Bolivia.
In the Chapare the blockades have continued without interruption for the last two weeks, and in other regions the social movements began to appear, shutting down roads and organizing marches and sudden demonstrations… and the 48-hour general strike called for in the National Mobilization Pact, which will begin at midnight, gives indications of being widespread and powerful. Because of this, Mesa's decision in his speech a few minutes ago is of great importance.
For just over half an tour, the Bolivian president appeared before the television cameras to explain his new proposal. Showing off his refined speaking skills, Mesa summarized the "impossibilities" he faces, claiming that the National Congress blocked his hydrocarbons law proposal, that the National Public Ministry (Bolivia's justice department, headed by the Attorney General of the Republic), blocked his attempts to press criminal charges against his opponents and blockaders, and that "Congressman Evo Morales has blockaded the entire country on me."
Unable to break what he called the stalemate between "the two objective realities that confront each other today in Bolivia," Mesa announced that he would no longer defend his hydrocarbons law proposal to anyone… and that neither will he approve the law that the National Congress ultimately passes. "Let it be the responsibility of the president of Congress (Senator Hormando Vaca Diez) to promulgate it," as the Constitution dictates. Carlos Mesa said that this country, where something surprising can occur every day, is impossible for him to govern with a Congress full of weakened parties, leading to a decrepit state. And so, calling on his notion of a new legitimacy, he announced his proposal for early general elections, which he will present as a bill to Congress tomorrow.
Mesa's proposal is for general elections August 28 (to comply with the legal minimums for campaigns). These elections will be for president, vice president, senators, and deputies. At the same time, he said, the Constituents' Assembly would be convoked; the newly elected congressmen and congressmen would be simultaneously named "constituents," with a mandate to produce a new constitution within one year.
These new elections would be for Mesa "a way out that avoids the collective suicide" that, according to him, the country is headed towards. Curiously, for the first time since his assumed command of the Bolivian state, Mesa admitted that he will not "be able to comply with what I said on October 17," when he promised justice, a new hydrocarbons law and the convocation of the Constituents' Assembly.
Finally, and in contradiction to his attacks on the legislature early in his speech, Mesa closed his address with an appeal to Congress, for the approval of his interpretation of Article 93 of the Constitution, which deals with early elections.
From somewhere in a country called América,
The Narco News Bulletin