A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Bolivia constitution reforms called illegitimate, may lead to violence

[JURIST] Several Bolivian opposition groups have said that the nation's new constitution is illegitimate, alleging that supporters of Bolivian President Evo Morales [official website, in Spanish; BBC profile] used legal loopholes to rush its approval. An International Crisis Group [official website] report [PDF text; ICG press release] released Thursday said the opposition may react to the constitutional reform attempts through violence. The opposition consists mainly of Unidad Nacional (UN), Poder Democratico y Social (PODEMOS), and Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR) [official websites, in Spanish], who say the approval vote was mostly restricted to those in Morales' Movement Toward Socialism Party (MAS) [party website, in Spanish]. The government has said that the constitution was approved by a majority of elected delegates. UPI has more.

Bolivia's current constitution [text, in Spanish] prohibits a president from seeking election to consecutive terms. The new constitution, which gained preliminary approval by the Constitutional Assembly [JURIST report] in November 2007, allows the president to seek election to two consecutive five-year terms, gives the president more power over natural resources, and consolidates Bolivia's legislature. In March, Bolivia's National Electoral Court [official website] blocked a scheduled May 4 referendum [JURIST report] on the new constitution after finding that it failed to satisfy a constitutional provision requiring a national vote to be held within 90 days of congressional approval of new legislation. The referendum had been narrowly approved [JURIST report] in the National Congress [official website, in Spanish] earlier in the month.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.