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Bolivia president proposes confidence referendum amid protests over new constitution

[JURIST] Bolivian President Evo Morales [official website; BBC profile] has proposed a national referendum on whether he and the country's nine provincial governors should remain in office in response to accusations that the process of creating a new constitution [text] has been illegitimate. Although the text was approved [JURIST report] last week by the Bolivian Constituent Assembly [official website], simultaneous protests in Sucre resulted in three deaths and some 300 injuries. Provincial governors and indigenous leaders have announced hunger strikes [El Pais report], claiming that the new constitution was not approved democratically, as the vote was held in an army compound without the presence of the opposition, many of whom boycotted the vote. The protesters also decried Morales' policies surrounding the natural gas industry and the use of its profits to fund public works.

The Constitutional Assembly was suspended in September after violent protests by students and opposition parties, and governors from the country's six wealthiest provinces have consistently opposed the reforms [JURIST reports]. Although three provincial governors have agreed to put their mandates to a referendum, it is unclear whether or when such a referendum would be held. Next month, a national referendum will determine whether the draft constitution will become law. BBC News has more. La Razon has local coverage, in Spanish.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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