The new Bolivian military government and twenty political parties met over the weekend (9 & 10 December) to decide on a legal framework for general elections in Bolivia to be held in july 1979.
GV traffic in streets of La Paz
SV armed guard on duty outside Judicial Palace
GV PAN FROM traffic to municipal offices
SV troops guarding entrance PAN TO ministers talking to newsmen on front steps
SV delegates entering building
Sv armed troops running up steps into building
GV INTERIOR delegates seated
SV Interior Minister Colonel Raul Lopez Leyton speaking in Spanish
On Friday (8 December) Colonel Leyton told Reuters news agency that the Bolivian government had unearthed a group of "subversives" who had held meetings in the town of Cochabamba and in La Paz on Thursday night (7 December), but that for the time being no arrests were being made. He said that all the government wished to do was make the plotters aware of the fact that their activities were known, and that those in power would not allow anything to destroy the hopes of the Bolivian people for a return to democracy.
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Background: The new Bolivian military government and twenty political parties met over the weekend (9 & 10 December) to decide on a legal framework for general elections in Bolivia to be held in july 1979. This follows President General David Padilla's recent announcement that the country would return to democracy. General Padilla came to power in a bloodless coup on the 24th of November.
SYNOPSIS: It was Bolivia's two hundredth coup since independence in 1820. There is evidence of widespread public support for the new government. The leaders met with Bolivia's political parties in the capital's Judicial Palace to agree on ways of returning the country to democracy.
The government gave the political parties until Tuesday (12 December) to come up with written constitutional proposals. From Wednesday (13 December) a subcommittee will begin to work out the details of a comprehensive document. The subcommittee will consist of two representatives of each Bolivian political party and one delegate from each group which does not consider itself otherwise represented.
In his opening speech to the conference, Bolivia's Interior Minister, Raul Lopez Leyton, asked the delegates to be responsible in the task ahead.
Bolivia's new leaders are committed to greater participation in government, the safeguarding of the country's national resources and the prevention of growing dependence on foreign capital.
The new military government ousted former President General Juan Pereda, who came to power last July after election results had been annulled because of fraud. General Pereda was placed under house arrest when the present military government took over.