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Cablegate: Preliminary Constituent Assembly Results

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #1808 1841315
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031315Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9839
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5978
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3296
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7145
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4402
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1685
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1687
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 3899
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4316
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 8873
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LA PAZ 001808

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON BL
SUBJECT: PRELIMINARY CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY RESULTS


1. (U) Summary: Although preliminary election results show that the
majority of Bolivians voted against departmental autonomy, four
eastern departments solidly voted in its favor. Early results also
indicate that President Morales' Movement Toward Socialism (MAS)
party won around 52 percent of Constituent Assembly representatives,
followed by Podemos with 23 percent and the National Unity party
with 4 percent, with the vote largely divided along east-west lines.
Observers reported an orderly, peaceful process, although the MAS
has begun to posture for post-election challenges based on fraud.
Santa Cruz declared its autonomy late July 2, and along with the
rest of the "media luna" is celebrating its "victory." Most view
the elections as a win for Morales, but the renewed east-west rift
and the MAS' lack of absolute control over the Assembly may press
Morales to consider building consensus. End summary.

2. (U) Based on preliminary election results, it appears that
western Bolivia (the departments of La Paz, Oruro, Potosi,
Cochabamba, and Chuquisaca) rejected departmental autonomy, while
the eastern lowlands (Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni, and Pando) voted
solidly in its favor. Nationally, early estimates show 56 percent of
voters oppose autonomy and 44 percent support it.

3. (U) Early results, although highly speculative, indicate that
President Morales' Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party won around
52 percent of Assembly representatives (135 of 255 total), which
constitutes a majority but falls short of the 170 representatives
needed to control the Assembly. Podemos finished with around 23
percent (60 representatives), and the National Unity party finished
with 4 percent (11 seats). Like autonomy, votes split largely along
east-west lines, with the MAS dominating western departments but
making significant gains in eastern Bolivia (Tarija and Santa Cruz)
as compared to the December elections.

4. (U) OAS and domestic observers cited an orderly, peaceful
process, with only one reported conflict. In Sucre, approximately
200 indigenous citizens marched to protest the Constituent Assembly
process for failing to consider the autonomy of indigenous
communities. Governmental authorities quickly responded and
negotiated with protesters to find an alternative march route.
Additionally, the MAS has begun to posture for post-election
challenges based on fraud in Beni, Pando, and Santa Cruz. Around
mid-day, Minister of the Presidency Juan de la Quintana alleged that
under-age citizens were voting in those departments.

5. (U) Late July 2, large crowds gathered in Santa Cruz and the rest
of the media luna (Beni, Pando and Tarija) to celebrate their
"victory" on autonomy. While Santa Cruz Prefect Ruben Costas
declared his province's autonomy before thousands of jubilant
supporters, other Santa Cruz leaders said they would take no further
action now but place the issue in the hands of their Constituent
Assembly representatives. In his late-night national address,
Morales confirmed the MAS' victory but said he would respect the
"yes" vote.

6. (SBU) Comment: Most view the elections as a win for Morales,
although results fall short of the MAS' stated expectations. The
renewed east-west rift and the MAS' lack of absolute control over
the Assembly provide some balance and may even press Morales to
build consensus in the run-up to the Assembly, which will convene
August 6. End comment.

GREENLEE

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