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Bolivia constitutional convention stalls on key vote over powers

[JURIST] A Bolivian constitutional convention [official website, in Spanish] championed by President Evo Morales [official website, in Spanish; BBC profile] has delayed voting on a motion that would allow the assembly to create a constitutional framework without having to answer to Congress or the judiciary. Tuesday's delay results from disputes between delegates from Morales' Movement Toward Socialism party (MAS) [party website, in Spanish; Wikipedia backgrounder], but a vote could occur later in the week. The constitutional assembly opened earlier in August [JURIST report] with MAS promoting constitutional changes designed to benefit the majority indigenous Indian population [JURIST report] and consolidate greater state authority to benefit poor Bolivians. Though a vote will still occur, opponents say that giving the assembly unsupervised control of drafting the constitution [current text] violates the assembly's own bylaws.

Morales' party failed to win the two-thirds majority [JURIST report] necessary to control the constitutional assembly and opposition from wealthier provinces within Bolivia [JURIST news archive] seeking autonomy presents a hurdle to the vote. The 255 elected delegates will have up to one year to rewrite the existing constitution, which was adopted in 1967. AP has more. From La Paz, La Razon has local coverage.

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