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Indigenous ceremony for Bolivia's first Indian leader

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Indigenous ceremony for Bolivia's first Indian leader

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Bolivia’s new president – the country’s first indigenous leader – has taken part in a ceremony ahead of his official inauguration on Sunday. Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian, was blessed by an Aymara priest and thanked Pachamama – Mother Earth – for helping him win the election in December.

Thousands of supporters crowded the pre-Inca ruins of Tiwanaku near Lake Titicaca to catch a glimpse of their new president. The election of Morales, who comes from a poor background and entered politics as the leader of the coca farmers – confirms a shift to the left across Latin America. He campaigned hard as a man of the people and analysts predict he faces a tough job juggling the demands of radical left-wing activists and those of richer provinces which are demanding more autonomy. Dozens of heads of state are expected to attend his inauguration in the capital La Paz on Sunday.