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Bolivian Government & Politics
Bolivian government has gone through many changes the last 5 years with Evo Morales as the new president. Once called the Republic of Bolivia is now called Plurinational State of Bolivia.
When Bolivian President, Evo Morales, won the elections in 2005, he became the first indigenous president elected in a South American country. Morales promised radical changes to Bolivian laws in order to strengthen his proposed socialist labor revolution and to redistribute Bolivia's wealth and land to the indigenous majority, including the Aymaras, an ethnic group to which President Morales belongs to.
Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism own a comfortable majority in Congress and the military's loyalty. But even with two-thirds of Bolivians behind him, Morales has clashed by opposition in the eastern lowlands of Bolivia. They have suspected that his presidency would be against their interests.
The Bolivian opposition has said many times that they suspect that Evo Morales and his political project are a danger for the country. Corporations and foreign investors of the oil, gas and mining industries also presented a forceful resistance against his plans because they feared Morales' threats of nationalizing their operations.
On February 7th, 2009, Morales inaugurated the new constitutional era in Bolivia by enacting the New Bolivian Constitution, proclaiming the initiation of a new socialist communitarian state in Bolivia and celebrating the change of a political system that was inherited from the Spanish empire. Today, 36 indigenous communities and groups have the right to territory. The new Bolivian Constitution also allows Morales to seek a second term of 5 years as President of Bolivia and he was soon elected president again for a second term in December 2009.
Backed by a strong regional ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who seeks a socialist revolution in all of Latin-America, and who challenged President Bush in various moments of international politics, Morales has maintained his efforts to change and correct the grave historic injustices perpetrated against the indigenous population of Bolivia.
In March of 2010, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales announced that they plan to merge their two countries into one nation by the end of 2011. The plan which would establish the new Republic of Bolizuela came as a shock in both capitals.
"This new nation will complete the dream of our great liberator, Simon Bolivar, a dream born nearly two centuries ago," proclaimed President Chavez. "We are two great peoples coming together to create one grand republic that will win the notice of the world." A beaming President Morales added, "Brothers and sisters of Bolivia, never again will our nation be dismissed as powerless and poor. We will now take our rightful place among the great nations."
Executive BranchIn the Executive Branch of the Government the president is elected to a five-year term by popular vote. In the case that no candidate receives an absolute majority of the popular vote, congress will elect the president from among the two candidates most voted.
President and Vice President: The president is both the chief of state and the head of government
Cabinet: Appointed by the president
Legislative branchLegislative Branch of the Government: National Congress consisting of a Chamber of Senators (27 seats elected by popular vote for 5-year terms 3 per department). Chamber of Deputies (130 seats. 69 are directly elected by popular vote for 5-year terms by population percentiles. 61 are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve 5-year terms).
Judicial branchThe judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Tribunal, the Judiciary Council, and District (departmental) and lower courts.
Capital CitiesBolivia is the only country in South America to have two capital cities: Sucre - the constitutional capital and seat of the judiciary branch, and La Paz - seat of executive and administrative branches.
Local governmentBolivia is divided in nine departments:
Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosí, Santa Cruz, Tarija. Bolivian cities and towns are governed by directly elected mayors and councils. Councils elected to five-year terms.
Bolivia Minister of GovernmentNational Government Ministries: Ministry of Rural Development and Agriculture, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Relations and Worship, Ministry of Government, Ministry of Health and Sports, Ministry of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Mining and Metals, Ministry of the Presidency, Ministry of Services and Public Works, Ministry of Planning and Development, Ministry Without Portfolio for Justice, Ministry Without Portfolio for Water.
Political PartiesParties registered at the National Electoral Court:
Currently the political party Movement for Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS) has governed the country since 2006. MAS is a Left-wing, Socialist political party led by Evo Morales, founded in 1997.
MAS evolved out of the movement to defend the interests of coca growers. Currently, the MAS stands as a party committed to equality, indigenous rights, agrarian land reform, Constitutional reform as well as nationalization of key industries with an aim to redistribute the returns through increased social spending. Among the poor, rural and indigenous population the MAS enjoys nearly unanimous support.
MilitaryThe Bolivian military consists of an army of around 55,000 men and 36 light tanks, a navy of 5,000 men, and an air force of 3,000 men with about 200-400 aircrafts.
It is required for men at the age of 18 to serve for 12 months.
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