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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07LAPAZ2244 2007-08-15 19:39:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy La Paz
Cable title:  

EVO'S DRAFT CONSTITUTION

Tags:   ECON PGOV PREL BL 
pdf how-to read a cable
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 002244 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/15/2017
TAGS: ECON PGOV PREL BL
SUBJECT: EVO'S DRAFT CONSTITUTION


Classified By: EcoPol chief Mike Hammer for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

-------
Summary
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1. (C) Government party Movement Toward Socialism (MAS)
advisors and consultants, including Spanish and Venezuelan
advisors, submitted a draft constitution to the Constituent
Assembly on August 14. This draft represents only the MAS
government's wish-list, including unlimited reelection of the
President. The draft constitution would also require that
the President speak at least one indigenous language, provide
for the potential revocation of presidential mandate by
referendum, give autonomy to departments and indigenous
groups, and incorporate indigenous electoral and judicial
practices. The involvement of the executive branch in what
is supposed to be the separate and independent Constituent
Assembly has drawn complaints from the opposition and
observers: the Constituent Assembly, which was created to
write the constitution, has had no input in this draft.
However, with the Constituent Assembly deadlocked over the
question of the capital's location, some constituent members
from both the MAS and opposition parties are suggesting that
the Constituent Assembly be shut down. Comment: The draft
constitution likely foreshadows the final version to be
produced by the Constituent Assembly. End comment.



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Evo Forever?


--------------------------





2. (SBU) On August 15, local newspapers published the MAS
draft constitution which would allow for unlimited reelection
of the president after the first five year term. If a
presidential candidate did not receive at least fifty-one
percent in the first vote, within 60 days a second election
would be held between the two candidates with the most votes.
The presidential mandate could be revoked in a national
referendum triggered by a petition signed by twenty-five
percent of the voting public. This revoking referendum could
not be called in the first two years or last year of the
president's five-year term, and only one referendum could be
called per term. If a president lost the referendum, the
vice president would assume command and would be required to
call a general election within ninety days.



--------------------------


Proposed Requirements to be President


--------------------------





3. (C) According to the draft constitution, candidates would
not be allowed to have dual nationality and would be required
to be Bolivian by birth. Candidates would have to be more
than thirty years old and not charged with or have been
convicted of a crime. Candidates would be required to have
fulfilled their mandatory military service (there is no clear
exception for a female candidate, although women in Bolivia
do not have mandatory military service.) Candidates would
also be required to speak at least one indigenous language.
(Comment: Evo is not fluent in any indigenous language. End
comment.)



--------------------------


No Protection for Investors


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Article 242 of the "International Relations" title
specifies that international investors would only enjoy the
benefits of Bolivian law and could not invoke external
agreements or, by implication, international arbitration.


--------------------------


Autonomy: Divide and Conquer


--------------------------





5. (C) The draft constitution would provide for many
different levels of autonomy, including departmental,
regional, municipal, and indigenous/originario/campesino.

This extreme decentralization would in effect weaken the
departments, since a department such as Santa Cruz would
receive departmental autonomy but would also have other
autonomous units within its borders. In addition, the draft
constitution introduces the idea of a departmental council,
which would be elected from within the department and would
have a (currently-unspecified) quota of indigenous
council-members. The council would control the budget and
human resources of the department, yet another diminution of
the power of the prefect.



--------------------------


Separate but Unequal


--------------------------





6. (C) Sections of the draft constitution would provide for
"more equal" or privileged status for indigenous citizens:
for example, a presidential candidate would be required to be
member of a political party (an expensive requirement,)
unless he or she were indigenous, originario, or campesino.
Community or traditional indigenous justice would apply in
indigenous territories (to indigenous or non-indigenous
citizens,) with no right to appeal to the formal justice
system. However, the draft constitution does not include the
concept of the "fourth power" often cited by Evo: a fourth
branch of government made up of civic and indigenous groups
that would act as a check to the other three branches of
government.



--------------------------


Free Speech, Controlled Media


--------------------------





7. (C) While guaranteeing the right to free speech, the
draft constitution states that the national government will
be in charge of regulating and approving electromagnetic
frequencies: that is, the State will decide if a radio
station or TV channel can exist. (Comment: The inclusion of
this article in the constitution suggests the influence of
Venezuelan advisors. End comment.)



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





8. (C) The constitution drafted by Evo's advisors (with no
input from the Constituent Assembly charged with the task)
may be changed either within the Constituent Assembly or
behind the scenes in bargaining with opposition parties. The
current draft, however, likely provides a foreshadowing of
the final version. Notable among its provisions would be
unlimited reelection of the president and preferential
treatment for the majority indigenous population. If
enacted, the new constitution would further divide Bolivia,
pitting indigenous groups against departments and leaving
room for a dictator-like power at the top. End comment.
GOLDBERG