In what is being hailed an “historic day for democracy” by Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, people are voting on a new constitution.
Among other things, the charter would give the nation’s indigenous majority more political leverage. It would also allow socialist Morales to run for re-election. He has said that, for the first time, a new constitution is being voted on that takes all Bolivians into account. As the country’s first indigenous president, he has hailed the charter as the cornerstone of his agenda to tilt the balance of power in favour of Bolivian Indians after centuries of discrimination. Politics and business in the impoverished South American country have long been dominated by a small elite with European roots. But not all of Bolivia’s indigenous people believe the charter could make a difference to their lives. One newspaper seller in La Paz said: “It will all be the same with the new constitution. Nothing will improve.” International observers are monitoring the referendum. Pre-election opinion polls indicated around 55 percent of voters would back the new constitution.