Bolivia Experience

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Modern Politics

Bolivia's government, under its new, official name, The Plurinational State of Bolivia, is currently headed by President Evo Morales, the nation's first indigenous President. Initially elected in 2005, President Morales won a recall referendum in August 2008 and was reelected to a five-year term in 2010. A member of the Moviemiento al Socialism (MAS) party, Morales' main initiatives as a candidate were renegotiating natural gas prices with international companies and rewriting the Bolivian Constitution. After a highly disputed revisionary process, the new Constitution was approved by 60% of the electorate in 2009. Morales also kept his campaign promise to nationalize most of Bolivia's natural gas fields. Acknowledging the multicultural ethnicity of the nation, the Law of Autonomy and Decentralization (LAD) was enacted in July 2010, giving increased political and financial rights to indigenous Bolivians. The 2010-2015 Plurinational Legislative Assembly is controlled in both bicameral houses by MAS. The government consists of an executive, a legislative, a judicial, and an electoral branch. Bolivia has nine Administrative Departments or geographical states, each with representative Prefects (governors), elected every five years. Mayors and members of local City Councils are also selected by popular vote. After a stormy, and often bloody, history with nearly 200 heads of state in a brief 175-year period, Bolivia appears to have entered a period of relative political stability.

Updated: 11-2011

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