October 20, 2009

Oil and Gas Report 4Q

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The research analysis website research and markets has published a report on Bolivia's Oil and Gas situation to the fourth quarter 2009. Of course, the entire report costs over €400, but one can take a glimpse on this website.

The report concludes: "Bolivia now shares seventh place with Ecuador in BMI’s Upstream Business Environment rating, four points behind Argentina but well ahead of Mexico. Its proven gas resources and gas reserves-toproduction ratio (RPR) work in the country’s favour, but are undermined by the state’s renewed control of assets, deteriorating licensing regime and generally unappealing risk environment. The country is at the foot of the league table in BMI’s updated Downstream Business Environment rating, reflecting its statecontrolled refining and marketing segment, modest capacity and less competitive environment, offset by a relatively low level of retail site intensity and the country’s gas self-sufficiency. Ecuador is immediately ahead of Bolivia in the regional rankings, but a wide gap exists between the two that is unlikely to be bridged by Bolivia at any point in the near future. "

New Poll Forecasting Morales' Win

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Angus Reid published a new poll forecasting Morales' win in the next elections. He leads with extreme comfort. One caveat only, the undecided reach 25%.

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales

47%

Manfred Reyes Villa

16%

Samuel Doria Medina

8%

Other candidates

4%

Undecided

25%

Source: Equipos MORI
Methodology: Interviews with 811 Bolivian adults, conducted Sept. 28 to Sept. 28, 2009. Margin of error is 3.3 per cent.

October 17, 2009

Elections 2009

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The electoral process is advancing in Bolivia. It seems that Bolivians have gotten the hand of it and can carry out, in amazing speed, all kinds of elections. As you may know, on December 6 this year, Bolivians will, once again, go to the ballot boxes to cast votes on general elections to elect a new President, Vicepresident, Senators, and Deputies (Uninomial, Plurinominal and Indigenous Special Districts) for the now denominated: Plurinational Assembly.

The electoral court has just finished registering voters using a biometric system. There are, for this year, 4,997,172 registered voters. The distribution per department and country of immigration is the following:

REGISTRO POR DEPARTAMENTO

La Paz 1.468.569
Santa Cruz 1.159.343
Cochabamba 874.833
Potosí 343.016
Oruro 256.576
Tarija 255.300
Chuquisaca 254.727
Beni 180.481
Pando 33.824

REGISTRO POR PAÍS

Argentina 90.431
España 50.523
Brasil 18.618
Estados Unidos 10.931

For more see source: HoyBolivia.

As you may imagine, the electoral agency is very happy about this result. However, the process is not over yet. There are two dates to take into account. The first one is October 17, which is the deadline for candidates have to present a series of documentation to be accredited as official candidates. These people, those who do not meet the requirements, will not be included in the official lists and will not be able to be replaced either. However, they may be replaced by other people who do have their documents in order and are able to present them, at least 72 hours before the elections. The second date to take into account is November 2. Until that day, the electoral court will review the voter registry and will exclude or purge any irregular voter. That is know as depuracion in Bolivia.

The second date will present problems after the elections. That is tradition in Bolivia. The first date is already presenting trouble. According to El Diario (image source), 250 candidates across the board resigned to their candidacies.


This is supposedly making trouble even for MAS. But, the smaller parties are the ones suffering the most. MUSPA finds itself in a deep crisis. GENTE, for its part is struggling to stay on the race. Roman Loayza, former MAS leader and founder, wants to run for president with this party.

This, however, should soon come to an end. Better said, today at 0 hours the deadline will fall and all candidates should be official.

October 13, 2009

The Democratic Development Index: Bolivia

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The Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Polilat.com have developed an index measuring the development of democracy in Latin America. The index, Democratic Development Index (DDI), measures that process in light of four dimensions: Basic conditions of democracy, respect for political rights and civil liberties, institutional quality and politic efficiency, exercise of the effective power to be able to govern (this last dimension is divided into two sub dimensions: capacity to generate well being policies and capacity to generate economic efficiency policies). The authors have published the results in the form of reports, which have been published since 2002.

The 2009 report finds Bolivia in last place, out of 18 Latin America countries. The explanation points to the relative better performance of other countries and the, again, relative worst performance in the institutional quality and political efficiency as well as in the capacity to generate social well being.

This report is a blow to the Bolivian government which has been wanting to portray that Bolivia is doing generally better than before (pre Morales), in democratic terms as well.

In comparison to other countries, the fact that Bolivia is doing worst than countries such as Venezuela, Honduras, and Guatemala, gives me something to think about. Taken with a bit of criticism, it might be in the way these authors measure the distinct dimensions. For one, it cannot be, the more I ponder, that Honduras scores better than Bolivia in the institutional quality and political efficiency dimension.

Just to put some more perspective, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Index of Democracy, finds Bolivia, worldwide, in 75th place as a flawed democracy for 2008. That is ahead of Nicaragua (78), Guatemala (79), Ecuador (88) and Venezuela (95). Honduras was placed 74 at the time. While Freedom House places Bolivia in the company of Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, as partly free countries. Another index, the Bartelsmann Transformation Index, ranks Bolivia below Nicaragua and Honduras, but above Guatemala, Ecuador and Venezuela.

So, what is the conclusion from all this? The conclusion is that it is very difficult to measure democracy. Who knows where Bolivia is on the average. The questions remain: is it a more democratic country? is democracy taking hold?

For what its worth, it is nice to see another index join the ranks, so to speak!

October 10, 2009

Popularity Polls

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Angus Reid's latest polls...

Polling Data

Who would you vote for in the presidential election?

Evo Morales

54%

Manfred Reyes Villa

20%

Samuel Doria Medina

11%

René Joaquino

3%

Alejo Véliz

1%

Other / Blank ballot

11%

Source: Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado / La Razón
Methodology: Interviews with 1,608 Bolivian adults, conducted Sept. 2 to Sept. 20, 2009. Margin of error is 2.45 per cent.

October 05, 2009

Angus Reid Reports on Evo's Popularity

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Angus Reid published new numbers on Evo's popularity.

It looks like Evo is doing something right, or the opposition is doing everything wrong!

Polling Data

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

Sept. 2009

Jul. 2009

Apr. 2009

Approve

60%

57%

53%

Disapprove

36%

39%

43%

Source: Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado / La Razón
Methodology: Interviews with 1,024 Bolivian adults in La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, conducted from Sept. 10 to Sept. 18, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.