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Bolivia president signs bill approving recall referendum

[JURIST] Bolivian President Evo Morales [official website; BBC profile] signed a bill Monday authorizing a recall election to be held on August 10, in which Morales and Bolivia's nine governors must win both more votes and a larger share of total votes cast in the 2005 election in order to keep their seats. If Morales or the nine governors fail to beat their 2005 showings, they would be removed from office and the people would elect a replacement or replacements. The Bolivian National Congress [official website, in Spanish] approved the recall election [JURIST report] on Friday.

Morales, who actually proposed the idea of a recall election [JURIST report] last December in response to accusations that his process for rewriting the Bolivian constitution has been illegitimate, says he is not afraid of the popular vote and will persevere in August. Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, ran on a populist platform in 2005 to win a six-year term. He has proposed a new draft constitution that would give the president more power over natural resources, collapse Bolivia's legislature into one body, and allow the president to seek election to two consecutive five-year terms. The Bolivian Constitutional Assembly [official website, in Spanish] narrowly passed the draft constitution [JURIST report] in December 2007, but in March Bolivia's National Electoral Court [official website] blocked the scheduled national referendum on the draft constitution, saying it violated Bolivia's current constitution by falling outside the three-month time period running after the Assembly approved it. AP has more.

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