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Bolivia ruling party falls short in election for constitutional reform assembly

[JURIST] Bolivian President Evo Morales [official website; BBC profile] may be forced to compromise with a special assembly that will rewrite the country's constitution after Morales' Movement Toward Socialism Party (MAS) [party website, in Spanish; Wikipedia backgrounder] apparently failed to gain a full two-thirds majority in an election held Sunday [JURIST report]. A television network's survey of actual votes from all polling places indicated that the leftist party had won 132 of the 255 seats. Morales had predicted that MAS, which advocates policies favorable to the majority indigenous population [JURIST report], would win a much larger majority. Podemos, the main opposition party, had accused Morales of using the constitutional process to amass power in the presidency and of allowing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to direct the constitutional reform. The constitutional assembly, which begins work on August 6, must approve all changes by a two-thirds vote and then submit the draft to a nationwide referendum.

Voting on a separate ballot question, majorities in at least four of nine Bolivian states favored increased local autonomy on political and economic matters, according to unofficial results. AP has more. La Patria has local coverage, in Spanish.

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