Supporters of Bolivian President Evo Morales have won a key vote at the constitutional assembly allowing them to draft populist reforms without input from opposition parties, although any final document must still be approved by two-thirds of the body.
In a heated session at the assembly to rewrite Bolivia's constitution, delegates from the ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party passed a motion late on Friday requiring the assembly's decisions to be made by a simple majority vote. The party controls 137 of the assembly's 235 seats.
The vote, following three months of bitter debate over the assembly's bylaws, gives MAS the power to push through the president's reforms without input from centrist and conservative opposition parties.
Morales, the nation's first Indian president, wants the new framework to grant Bolivia's social movements, indigenous groups, and labor unions greater say in the country's government. His vice president has suggested replacing Bolivia's Senate with some form of popular assembly.
A final draft of a new constitution, however, must still be approved by two-thirds of the assembly.
Opposition delegates, led by the conservative party Podemos, have fought to have all votes decided by two-thirds. This week they hung a huge Bolivian flag printed with the slogan "Two-thirds is Democracy" from the balcony of the historic theater where the assembly meets.
Morales has said that requiring such a majority on every motion would condemn the assembly to deadlock.
Samuel Doria Medina, leader of the centrist National Unity Party and Morales' opponent in last year's presidential election, called for a hunger strike this week to protest the MAS push for majority rule.
He and other opposition delegates appeared on national television drinking thermoses of coca tea to fight their hunger pangs.
In the capital, La Paz, those who joined the hunger strike were harassed by MAS supporters, who shouted insults and banged on the wooden doors of a cathedral where the strikers had taken refuge.
The assembly, convened in August in the colonial capital of Sucre, 400km southeast of La Paz, has a year to draw up a new constitution. Their final draft will be submitted to a popular vote at the end of next year.
The conservative opposition wants the new constitution to grant greater autonomy for the four wealthier states in Bolivia's eastern lowlands.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete