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Third Strong mandate for Morales
International

Third Strong mandate for Morales

Evo Morales coasted to victory in Bolivia’s presidential elections, winning an unprecedented third term as voters rewarded the former coca grower for delivering economic and political stability in what has traditionally been one of South America’s most ungovernable nations.

Morales, a native Aymara Indian, received 60 percent of the vote against 25 percent for cement magnate Samuel Doria Medina, the top vote-getter among four challengers in Sunday’s election, according to a quick count of voting stations by the polling firm Ipsos for ATB television. Official partial results were expected early Monday.
Doria Medina conceded defeat late Sunday promising to “keep working to make a better country,” AP reported.
Morales’ supporters poured into the streets to celebrate the triumph, but the festive mood was partly dented by an apparent failure by the ruling Movement Toward Socialism party to retain the two-thirds control of Congress needed to push through a constitutional reform lifting a two-term limit on presidential mandates.
In a victory speech from the balcony of the presidential palace in La Paz, Morales dedicated his victory to Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez.
“It is a triumph of the anti-colonialists and anti-imperialists,” Morales said in a booming voice. “We are going to keep growing and we are going to continue the process of economic liberation.”
Morales won eight of Bolivia’s nine states, including the former opposition stronghold of Santa Cruz, an agribusiness center in the eastern lowlands where he polled 51 percent, according to Ipsos.
Morales is now on track to become Bolivia’s longest-serving leader consecutively in office, eclipsing 19th century Marshal Andres de Santa Cruz, a founder of the republic in power from 1829-1839.
While known internationally for his anti-imperialist and socialist rhetoric, the 55-year-old coca growers’ union leader is widely popular at home for a pragmatic economic stewardship that spread Bolivia’s natural gas and mineral wealth among the masses.

 

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