August 31, 2009

Morales: The Best President Since 1982

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Angus Reid published again a poll citing the popularity of Evo Morales. According to the poll, Morales is the best Bolivian president since democracy returned to the country. The poll asks Bolivians who they think has been the best president since 1982. Not surprisingly, the result is 41% of the people think Evo Morales is the best president. Is not surprising because around 60% of the population identify themselves as indigenous (2001 census), and if Morales' strongest appeal is being of indigenous descent, the poll is right on. Well, very close, at least.

In addition, this poll represents mostly an urban opinion. If the pollsters would think of going to the country side, I think the percentage would rise a bit more.

Who do you think has been the best president since the return of democracy on October 10, 1982?

Evo Morales

41%

Víctor Paz

24%

Carlos Mesa

5%

Hugo Banzer

5%

Jaime Paz

5%

Jorge Quiroga

3%

Eduardo Rodríguez

2%

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada

0%

Source: Equipos MORI / Poder y Placer
Methodology: Interviews with 2,100 Bolivian adults in Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Tarija, conducted in July 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

August 29, 2009

UNASUR Summit 2009

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The UNASUR met in Bariloche, Argentina, on August 28, 2009. The first picture presents the heads of state. The following pictures show the proceedings. The result of the meeting was a declaration of the South American region as a "region of peace". They also expressed their rejection of military forces that may threat any nation in the region.

The images are from the ABI.

Here you can find some graphics that show the various integration projects in South America. Here is the first graph and here is the second graph. Here is the source.

August 27, 2009

MAS Strategy to Win the Next General Elections

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Until now, MAS and the Morales government have only reached part of their political goals. The historic win in 2005 has marked only the beginning. These last four years have made it clear, for Morales and his supporters in government, that it is not enough to win the Executive power. In order to make the planned changes MAS needs to control Congress and the courts.

One important step forward has been taken by passing the new constitution in early 2008. The text incorporates some, not all, of the changes desired. But, how to implement such changes when the government only controls the Executive? As stated, the last four years have shown that it would be near to impossible to do that without majority support in Congress.

Therefore, the most important task for MAS and Morales for the December elections is to win a majority in Congress. But how to do that?

As far as I can see, MAS has been preparing for this for a long time. One first step was the ID issuing program, where the government went to the people to give them IDs. A second step was to use the old voter registration list for the coming elections. However, this was not possible. Now, the government is preparing its candidate lists and is also moving voters to regions where it needs to gain votes.

The latter move is rather obvious. Good, the government wants to provide a better life for poor people by moving them to border regions and give them land. But, why now? Why can't it wait until the conditions are given? By conditions I mean housing with the necessary conditions to live. This move is very suspect, is it not?

As for the preparation of candidate lists, MAS is betting that it already has a significant number of uninominal (district) candidates in its camp. It just needs to place its people in the plurinominal lists. That way, MAS makes sure that the people who land in Congress do as the party leadership says.

This is a list of the people who will fill the MAS candidate lists:

From the government: Walker San Miguel (Ministry of Defense), Héctor Arce (Minister of Defense for the Legal Nationalization), Luis Arce Catacora (Minister of Economy and Finances), Sacha Llorenti (Viceminister of Coordination with the Social Moviement), Wilfredo Chávez (Viceminister of Governmental Coordination, Óscar Coca (Minister of Hidrocarbons), Juan Ramón Quintana (Minister of the Presidency), Ramiro Tapia (Minister of Health), Rebeca Delgado (former Viceminister of Governmental Coordination).

Social Movements Leaders: Isaac Ávalos (CSUTCB), Fidel Surco (Conalcam), Édgar Patana (COR).

Former members of the Constituent Assembly: Raúl Prada, David Herrada, Feliciano Vegamonte, Jorge Alvarado y Silvia Lazarte.

Members of Congress: René Martínez, José Pimentel, Félix Rojas, Jorge Silva y César Navarro.

These are people who have already proven themselves in the Morales government. These are the people who will fill the new Plurinational Congress and will give the government green light.

Sources: Here, here.

August 24, 2009

Morales With a Large Advantage

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The latest poll (again, only conducted in large urban areas), published by Angus Reid, shows Morales has a large advantage against his opponents.

As you can see in the below table, 43% of the people would vote for Morales. This shows that the opposition has a lot of work in front of them and that the work, done until now, has not been efficient.

Personally, I don't think there is a candidate in the opposition that could stand up against Morales in the next elections. Even Jimena Costa, who has been said to be the most promising, will not be able to drive people away from Morales' side.

I think the opposition needs someone from the rural areas, preferable a woman with a strong character who is able to answer to Morales' comments and does not represent in any way the "traditional", "neoliberal", "corrupt", "elitist", "I am better than you", "servant of the empire", "urbanite", kind of candidate image. Someone who can look at Morales straight in his face and tell him, this is what you are doing wrong, and this is what we need to do instead. He needs to be attacked on his weak sides, such as his authoritarian tendencies, and he needs to be reminded of what he said and what he is doing now.

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales

43%

Víctor Hugo Cárdenas

11%

Manfred Reyes Villa

10%

Samuel Doria Medina

9%

René Joaquino

4%

Source: Equipos MORI / Poder y Placer
Methodology: Interviews with 2,100 Bolivian adults in Cochabamba, El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Tarija, conducted in July 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

August 14, 2009

Links to Recent Laws Concerning Elections and Autonomies

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The following are links to the laws providing the framework for the December national elections and the autonomic referenda scheduled to happen on the same day.

This link points to the provisional electoral code (Law No. 4021) which regulates the coming elections in December. This is the point of reference for future actions concerning the electoral process and the autonomic referenda for La Paz, Potosi, Oruro, Sucre y Cochabamba (those departments that do not have autonomic statutes yet.

This link points to the Decree (Presidential Decree No. 0231) that regulates the process by which indigenous, originary and campesino municipalities become autonomic.

The last link points to the future and, as of now, suggested bill or law regulating the autonomy and decentralization process. If passed in Congress, this bill will become the reference for these two processes.

August 13, 2009

Pando Vote History

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Pando's voting history. It's voted against MAS persistently. The civic leaders want now to take the government to court to stop, what they call, the government's efforts to change the voting pattern in Pando. The government has been transporting (by now around 700 men) immigrants to Pando so settle the border region to make Bolivia's borders more secure, so they say. The Pando civic leaders want to call on Article 202 of the Electoral Code to stop the government. The article says that it is illegal to massively transport citizens for electoral purposes. We'll se if Pando will come through with this new development.



Source: La Razon.

The Bolivian Opposition: There Are 12 Candidates Plus Morales

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The opposition to Evo Morales has been unable to come up with one candidate to confront him in the next national elections coming December 6. After many meetings, conversations, dinners, and negotiations, the many political leaders could not agree on one candidate to unite the opposition. Many options were handled, there was the talk of a woman, such as the journalist Jimena Costa, or the possibility of another indigenous leader. Actually, these were seen, also by political commentators, as the only possible candidates that could run against Morales and have a chance to win. The other candidates are too identified with most of the traditional political parties which took part in government in the last periods before Morales. They were one of the reasons why Morales won.

Now, the opposition could not unite and most of the "traditional" leaders have chosen to declare themselves official candidates. Perhaps, they want to gain some more power to negotiate more gains, before they really pick a candidate. So now, there are so far, 13 candidates. The list follows:
  1. Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia
  2. Victor Hugo Cardenas (made it official on August 12)
  3. Samuel Doria Medina (UN) (made it official on August 12)
  4. Jorge Quiroga (Podemos) (made it official on August 13)
  5. Manfred Reyes Villa (...) (will make it official on August 25)
  6. German Antelo (MNR) (announced he is looking for a vice president on August 12)
  7. Rene Joaquino (AS) (already in the race)
  8. Alejo Veliz (Pueblos Unidos por la Libertad y Soberanía - Pulso) (will announce August 15)
  9. Hugo San Martin (Alianza por el Verdadero Cambio Democrático - AVCD)
  10. Roman Loayza
  11. Peter Maldonado (dissident Deputy of the UN)
  12. Ana Maria Flores (NFR Senator) (August 22 will present her list)
  13. Juan Choque (Causa por Bolivia)
September 7 is the deadline for candidates to present their lists and formalize their candidacy. So there is still time for the opposition to pull together and pick a candidate. So far, we have to still wait for what is coming.

Source: La Razon article.

August 10, 2009

Poll Numbers

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Here are the poll results from Angus Reid. According to AR this time, Morales is gaining support as Bolivians march ahead towards a very important elections date.

Polling Data

Do you approve or disapprove of Evo Morales’s performance as president?

Jul. 2009

Apr. 2009

Mar. 2009

Approve

57%

53%

49%

Disapprove

39%

43%

48%

Source: Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado / La Razón
Methodology: Interviews with 1,044 Bolivian adults in La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, conducted from Jul. 8 to Jul. 20, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

August 05, 2009

Elections Poll

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I came accross this site where a group of Bolivian university students (from UMSA, La Paz, San Simon, Cochabamba, and Gabriel Rene Moreno, Santa Cruz) is posting a survey on political popularity and the chances Morales and company have in the coming December elections.

The students are doing a remarcable job at not just surveying but also analyzing the results.

Below you can see some slides as results, but I suggest to pay them a visit to see the whole presentation.



According to the survey, Morales a 44% approval rate and a 35% disapproval rate. There is not a bit of change in approval compared to the survey published by Angus Reid GM. What is interesting to me in these results are the percentage of people not decided yet (55%) versus the already decided (38%). If I remember correctly, for the last elections, there were many more people decided who to vote for at this stage of the game.



These other two images I see as a preliminary list of candidates. Of course some names have already changed. For example, the name of the new possible opposition candidate (Jimena Costa) is not included and it doesn't take into account that Roman Loayza has just lost its party and therefore its support (Muspa).

August 04, 2009

Decree for Indigenous Autonomies

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This is the decree that sets up the framework for the indigenous autonomy process. The government issued this decree and presented a bill proposal to be approved by Congress.

DECRETO SUPREMO PARA LAS AUTONOMÍAS INDÍGENAS
El presidente Evo Morales Ayma, en Consejo de Ministros decreta:
Artículo 1. El presente decreto supremo tiene por objeto reglamentar la disposición final tercera de la Ley 4021 (de Régimen Electoral Transitorio) del 14 de abril de 2009, estableciendo los requisitos y procedimientos para la convocatoria y realización del referendo municipal de consulta para adoptar la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina a realizarse el 6 de diciembre de 2009.

Artículo 2. Voluntad autonómica. El referendo municipal citado en el artículo precedente establecerá la voluntad de los pobladores del municipio para adoptar la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina y sólo servirá como tales una vez aprobados sus estatutos autonómicos.

Artículo 3. Derechos propietarios y territoriales. La adopción de la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina de un municipio no modifica de ninguna manera los derechos de propiedad existentes en la jurisdicción.

Artículo 4. Límites de los municipios que adoptarán la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina. Los municipios que hubiesen adoptado la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina resultantes de la aplicación del procedimiento establecido en el presente decreto supremo deberán mantener los límites territoriales reconocidos a los municipios antes de adquirir la condición de autonomía indígena.

Artículo 5. Requisitos. Los requisitos para realizar el referendo municipal de consulta sobre la adopción de condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina a realizarse el 6 de diciembre de 2009 son: 1) certificación del Ministerio de Autonomías sobre los siguientes aspectos: a) jurisdicción actual del municipio y correspondencia histórica a la territorialidad de los pueblos originarios que lo habitan; b) la existencia de estos pueblos que sean una existencia precolonial; y c) que la población indígena del municipio comparta identidad cultural, idioma, tradición histórica, territorialidad, cosmovisión y organización o instituciones jurídicas, políticas, sociales y económicas propias. El referendo (inaudible) del Concejo Municipal por dos tercios de votos.

Artículo 6. Procedimiento ante el Ministerio de Autonomías.
Parágrafo I. El Concejo Municipal, Alcalde o solicitantes del referendo, por iniciativa popular solicitarán de forma escrita al Ministerio de Autonomías la certificación descrita en el artículo precedente desde la fecha de aprobación del presente decreto hasta el día 24 de agosto de 2009 impostergablemente, adjuntando información requerida en el formulario de información especial para adquirir la condición de autonomía indígena que en anexo forma parte del presente decreto.
Parágrafo II. El Ministerio de Autonomías notificará hasta el día 4 de septiembre de 2009 a la Corte Nacional Electoral (CNE) con las resoluciones ministeriales referidas en el artículo cinco del presente decreto supremo.

Artículo 7. Procedimiento ante el Órgano Electoral.
Parágrafo I. La Corte Nacional Electoral y las cortes departamentales electorales serán los órganos competentes para la revisión de libros de apoyo al referendo municipal por iniciativa popular, en el marco de las competencias descritas en el Código Electoral y su reglamentación.
Parágrafo II. El procedimiento de verificación de libros por iniciativa popular se sustanciará y concluirá en el plazo de 15 días calendario, computables a partir de la presentación a la Corte Departamental Electoral competente.
Parágrafo III. El Concejo Municipal emitirá ordenanza municipal que de acuerdo a lo previsto en el numeral dos del artículo cinco del presente decreto.
Parágrafo IV. El gobierno municipal solicitante deberá notificar con la ordenanza municipal de convocatoria al referendo a la Corte Departamental correspondiente y a la Corte Nacional Electoral hasta el día 4 de septiembre de 2009.
Parágrafo V. La Corte Nacional Electoral publicará, de acuerdo a su cronograma, el listado de municipios en los que se llevará a cabo el referendo del 6 de diciembre de 2009.

Artículo 8. Iniciativa Popular. A los efectos de la emisión de la ordenanza municipal de la convocatoria a referendo, previamente se deberá cumplir con lo establecido en el parágrafo dos del artículo seis de la Ley 2769 del 6 de julio de 2004, del referendo.

Artículo 9. Pregunta. El referendo municipal objeto del presente decreto supremo tendrá la siguiente pregunta: ¿está usted de acuerdo con que su municipio adopte la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina de acuerdo a los alcances y preceptos establecidos en la Constitución Política del Estado?

Artículo 10. De la papeleta del referendo. En la parte superior se consignará el nombre del municipio donde se realiza el referendo, en el centro se consignará la pregunta específica y en la parte inferior las dos casillas con las opciones del sí o del no. Las demás características formales y de seguridad serán definidas por la CNE.

Artículo 11. Decisión del referendo. La decisión del referendo se adoptará por mayoría simple de votos válidos de la respectiva circunscripción y tendrá validez si participa al menos el 50% del electorado habilitado.

Artículo 12. Elección de autoridades. La elección de autoridades municipales del 4 de abril de 2010 en aquellos municipios que hayan decidido, mediante referendo, adoptar la condición de autonomía indígena originaria campesina deberá supeditarse a norma expresa emitida al efecto.

Artículo 13. Financiamiento. Se autoriza al Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas Públicas debitar de las cuentas de los municipios en los que se realizan el referendo municipal los recursos financieros necesarios para llevar a cabo el mismo en el marco de lo establecido en la Ley 2769.

Los ministros de Estado en los despachos de Economía y de Autonomía, y el presidente de la Corte Nacional Electoral quedan encargados de la ejecución y cumplimiento del presente decreto.

(Fuente: transcripción de la lectura del decreto supremo efectuada por el ministro Carlos Romero).

Source: Cambio.com