Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Democratic Succession in Bolivia

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Democratic Succession in Bolivia

Article excerpt

THE OAS PERMANENT COUNCIL affirmed its full support for the recent "constitutional and democratic succession" in Bolivia and the new government of President Carlos Mesa Gisbert.

Mesa had sewed as vice president under Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, who resigned the presidency on October 17, following widespread unrest.

In a resolution adopted by acclamation, the Permanent Council called on the government and people of Bolivia to strengthen the country's democratic institutions "through organized and purposeful participation, as a means of ensuring good governance, based on full respect for the democratic system, the constitutional framework, and the rule of law." It also expressed its support for "constructive dialogue" in the quest for national reconciliation.

The OAS had been closely following developments in Bolivia for some time. On September 26, less than a month before the presidential succession, Vice President Mesa visited the OAS Permanent Council and reported on the economic difficulties and social and politics tensions in his country.

During his visit, Mesa underscored the urgency of securing a national consensus on issues related to the sale of Bolivian natural gas--a key issue that led to growing street protests and more than seventy deaths.

On October 13, during an urgent evening session of the OAS Permanent Council, Bolivia's Ambassador to the OAS, Maria Tamayo, warned that "radical and violent groups" were threatening the country's democratic stability and asked for inter-American support. …

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