Bolivia recall referenda: President Morales emerges as great winner (updated II)
UPDATES: Official preliminary statements show President Evo Morales win. In his victory speech, President Morales stated that today electoral victory allows him to carry on with his nationalization drive and pro indigenous political programme. Several Bolivian cities celebrate Morales´s triumph.
President Morales spoke to a crowd of supporters outside the presidential palace in La Paz a few hours after polls closed in Sunday's recall vote. The socialist leader thanked voters for their support and said his apparent victory helped validate his government and its reform program. Mr. Morales also appealed to opposition leaders to put aside their differences with the government and work to improve conditions in the South American nation.
Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 10 August, 2008.Unofficial and exit polls show that incumbent President has emerged as the great winner in today´referenda with over 61% of the votes. Thus, Morales has secured his post as Socialist President of Bolivia. Official figures are expected later tonight. According to ABI, three Prefects - La Paz, Oruro and Cochabamba - have been removed because their yes vote was less than 50%.
All four governors there easily survived Sunday's plebiscite, as expected. But the initial results indicate Morales did score gains with the defeat of opposition governors in the highland province of La Paz and in Cochabamba, seat of his coca-growers movement. The recently elected governor of central Chuquisaca province was exempt from the referendum.
Yesterday President Morales stated that if he was ratified at the repeal referendum, he would look for consensus with different regional authorities, social organizations and civic committees in order to pass the new Constitution.
Voting has ended in Bolivia's recall referendum, which could put an end to the mandates of Evo Morales, the president, or to those of the opposition governors ranged against him. Pre-poll surveys suggested Morales would easily survive Sunday's vote, but that up to three of the eight governors on the ballot might lose their jobs. Morales called the referendum hoping to boost his authority over the governors, who have refused to adopt measures to redistribute wealth to the country's indigenous minority. But though he may win the vote, the result is unlikely to end the stand-off with his rivals, with analysts warning that conflicting rules on how to interpret the results could create confusion.