Morales wins Bolivia majority vote

Gains by some of the president's political enemies temper his victory.

    Governor Reyes, rejected in the referendum, has vowed not to stand down [AFP]

    Morales also called on four opposition governors who are defying his political programme to work with him.

    But the president's victory in Sunday's polls was tempered by strong gains for his political enemies, leaving the country sharply divided.

    Political opposition

    The governors of the states of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Pando and Beni overnight celebrated their own strong wins in the referendum.

    Ruben Costas, governor of Santa Cruz, struck out in his speech against the president's "dictatorship" and vowed Morales would not be able to step foot in his state.

    Of the other four state governors whose jobs were also on the line in the plebiscite, three were seen to have been ousted - two of them Morales critics.

    Manfred Reyes, of the central state of Cochabamba and one of the opposition leaders rejected in the referendum, has vowed to fight any attempt to make him stand down.

    That raised the prospect of violence in his state, which has already been shaken by clashes early last year between his supporters and Morales loyalists.

    Morales relies on massive support among Bolivia's indigenous majority, which accounts for six out of 10 of the country's inhabitants.

    They live mostly in the Andes to the west and have become increasingly assertive under Morales in their demands for a greater share of the national wealth.

    But the elite, mostly of European descent, have much of the national wealth in the eastern lowlands in the form of farmland and gas fields.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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