Hopes of a solution to the Presidential stalemate in Bolivia faded on Monday (6 August) when the country's two major political parties failed to ratify an agreement naming Senate President Walter Guevara Arze at the head of a coalition provisional government.
Hopes of a solution to the Presidential stalemate in Bolivia faded on Monday (6 August) when the country's two major political parties failed to ratify an agreement naming Senate President Walter Guevara Arze at the head of a coalition provisional government. Elections at the beginning of July proved inconclusive and it was left to Congress to choose the country's new head of state.
SYNOPSIS: For the past fifteen years Bolivia has been subject to military rule. Last month's general election results were supposed to pave the way for the country's return to civilian power, but the closeness of the vote led to accusations and counter accusations of electoral fraud.
Members of the House of Deputies arriving to vote for the new President, were accosted by demonstrators, angry at the new parliament's failure to act.
Since no candidate won an outright majority in the July 1 election, the one hundred and forty-four seat Congress must now elect the President. All three of the original candidates were former Presidents.
General Hugo Banzer, dropped out of the race after the first ballot, but so far the parliament has failed to elect either the left-wing candidate Mr Herna??? Siles Suazo, or the Centrist candidate Mr. Victor Paz Estenssoro. Interior Minister Raul Lopez Leyton attempted to appoint a deputy as president -- and that provoked an outburst from members of Mr. Siles Suazo's Leftist Democratic Popular Unity Party (UDP).
UDP members are angry because although their candidate polled slightly more votes than Mr. Estenssoro of the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR), Mr. Siles Suazo won only forty-six parliamentary seats compared to his rival's sixty three. UDP leaders say the alleged vote fraud has cost their party at least twelve seats.
Bolivia's current military government headed by General David Padilla had pledged a return to democratically elected civilian rule by Monday (6 August), but the bickering between the major political parties has cast doubt over the whole situation. In a country which has seen two hundred military coups since independence from Spain in 1825, it is not surprising that rumours of another military uprising are again rife. General Padilla has dispelled these rumours, but the pressure is on Congress to split the deadlock.