[JURIST] Bolivians voted Sunday to elect 255 delegates to a special assembly that will rewrite the countrys constitution [text, in Spanish] and decide whether to entrench greater power in the states or in the national government. The Movement Toward Socialism Party [party website, in Spanish; Wikipedia backgrounder] of President Evo Morales [official website; BBC profile] is expected to emerge as the victor and start implementing policies favorable to the majority indigenous population [JURIST report], including giving many executive and financial powers to the states. The 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.
Former president Carlos Mesa [Wikipedia profile] first agreed to rewrite the constitution [JURIST report] in response to protests in June 2005. Podemos, the main opposition party consisting primarily of wealthy landowners, supports greater autonomy for the states and has accused Morales of using the constitutional process to amass power in the presidential office and of allowing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to direct the constitutional reform. AP has more. From Bolivia, La Patria has local coverage. Bolivian news agency ABI has the latest developments in the vote.