Bolivia’s President, Carlos Mesa, has withdrawn his offer to resign after the country’s congress overwhelmingly rejected it. The announcement he was staying on was met with a rapturous reception by supporters in the main square of the capital, La Paz. Mesa’s decision increases the risk of a fresh wave of street protests that could paralyse the country.
Members of congress, including many opposition deputies, evidently believed his departure would trigger even greater chaos. “From now on we will be able to say that the laws we pass in this assembly have broad support. They won’t be the result of a battle between the executive and the legislative powers. Instead, the government and parliament will stand shoulder-to-shoulder for the benefit of all Bolivians,” Mesa told parliamentarians. Bolivia has convulsed in turmoil as the poor indigenous majority demands a greater share of the nation’s natural resources