Bolivia's Morales wins key vote but divisions remain

 Bolivia's Morales wins key vote but divisions remain
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More than 60 percent of Bolivian voters have backed the mandate of President Evo Morales, in unofficial results from a weekend referendum. Buoyed by the landslide, the leftist leader has vowed to press ahead with his socialist reforms. Addressing jubilant supporters outside the presidential palace in La Paz he said: “This is an historic day for Bolivia, thanks to voters’ support for improving Bolivian democracy.”

The country’s first indigenous president wants to forge ahead with nationalisations, land redistribution and a constitution aiming to give more power to the poor. But there are deep divisions over the reforms between the wealthier east of the country and the more indigenous west.

“We hope for Bolivia that, from now on, the situation gets calmer and the relationship with the eastern provinces improves,” said one woman, interviewed on the street in the capital. But, complicating things for Morales, some of his arch political opponents are also celebrating victory in Sunday’s vote.

Among them is Santa Cruz’s governor Ruben Costas. He has promised his supporters regional autonomy and dismissed Morales’ planned constitution. The president has called for dialogue but his overture is likely to fall on deaf ears.

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