Politics of Bolivia

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Bolivia

The politics of Bolivia takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the president is head of state, head of government and head of a Diversity multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament. Both the Judiciary and the electoral branch are independent of the executive and the legislature.

La Paz is Bolivia's Seat of Government.

Constitution[edit]

Bolivia's current constitution [1] was adopted via referendum in 2009, providing for a unitary secular state.

Executive Branch[edit]

Current president Evo Morales
Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Evo Morales Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) 22 January 2006
Vice President Álvaro García Linera Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) 22 January 2006

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.

Hence, Hugo Banzer Suárez was elected president in 1997. Although no candidate had received more than 50% of the popular vote in the national election, Banzer won a congressional runoff election on 5 August 1997 after forming the so-called "megacoalition" with other parties. He resigned in August 2001 and was substituted by his vice president Jorge Fernando Quiroga. In August 2002, the winner of the national election Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada was chosen president by Congress, winning an 84-43 vote against popular vote runner-up Evo Morales. Elected president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada resigned in October 2003, and was substituted by vice-president Carlos Mesa who governed the nation until his resignation in June 2005. He was replaced by chief justice of the Supreme Court Eduardo Rodríguez, acting as caretaker president. Six months later, on December 18, 2005, cocalero leader Evo Morales was elected president.

A group of MEPs acting as election observers oversaw a constitutional referendum in Bolivia that gave more power to indigenous peoples 25 January 2009. The tightly fought referendum laid out a number of key reforms such as allowing President Evo Morales to stand for re-election, state control over natural gas and limits on the size of land people can own.

Legislative branch[edit]

The bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional) consists of the Chamber of Senators (Cámara de Senadores) (27 seats; members are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) (130 seats; 68 are directly elected from their districts and 62 are elected by proportional representation from party lists to serve five-year terms).

Judicial branch[edit]

The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Tribunal, the Judiciary Council, Agrarian and Environmental Tribunal, and District (departmental) and lower courts.

  • Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (Spanish: Tribunal Constitucional Plurinacional) — rules on the constitutionality of government or court actions
  • Supreme Court or Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Spanish: Tribunal Supremo de Justicia)
  • Agrarian and Environmental Tribunal (Spanish: Tribunal Agroambiental) — highest court authority in matters of agriculture and the environment
  • Judiciary Council (Spanish: Consejo de la Magistratura) — oversees the conduct of courts and judges, including misconduct and ethical violations
  • District Courts (one in each department)
  • Provincial and local courts

In October 2011, Bolivia held its first judicial elections to choose members of the national courts by popular vote. Twenty-eight elected members and twenty-eight alternates were sworn in on 3 January 2011 in Sucre.

Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal[edit]

The members of the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal, elected in October 2011, are: Ligia Velásquez, Mirtha Camacho, Melvy Andrade, Zoraida Chanes, Gualberto Cusi, Efraín Choque, and Ruddy Flores. The elected alternate members are: Isabel Ortuño, Lidia Chipana, Mario Pacosillo, Katia López, Javier Aramayo, Miriam Pacheco, and Rommy Colque.[2]

Supreme Tribunal of Justice[edit]

The members of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, elected in October 2011, are: Maritza Suntura (La Paz Department), Jorge Isaac Von Borries Méndez (Santa Cruz), Rómulo Calle Mamani (Oruro), Pastor Segundo Mamani Villca (Potosí), Antonio Guido Campero Segovia (Tarija), Gonzalo Miguel Hurtado Zamorano (Beni), Fidel Marcos Tordoya Rivas (Cochabamba), Rita Susana Nava (Tarija), and Norka Natalia Mercado Guzmán (Pando).[2] The elected alternate members are: William Alave (La Paz), María Arminda Ríos García (Santa Cruz), Ana Adela Quispe Cuba (Oruro), Elisa Sánchez Mamani (Potosí), Carmen Núñez Villegas (Tarija), Silvana Rojas Panoso (Beni), María Lourdes Bustamante (Cochabamba), Javier Medardo Serrano (Tarija), and Delfín Humberto Betancour Chinchilla (Pando).[2] Gonzalo Miguel Hurtado Zamorano was elected President of the Tribunal on 3 January 2012.

The Supreme Tribunal replaces the Supreme Court of Justice, active since Bolivia's founding in 1825.

Judiciary Council[edit]

The members of the Judiciary Council, elected in October 2011, are (in order of total votes received): Cristina Mamani, Freddy Sanabria, Wilma Mamani, Roger Triveño, and Ernesto Araníbar.[3] Cristina Mamani was elected by her peers as the first president of the Judiciary Council on 4 January 2012.[4]

Agro-environmental Tribunal[edit]

The members of the Agro-environmental Tribunal, elected in October 2011, are (in order of total votes received): Bernardo Huarachi, Deysi Villagómez, Gabriela Armijo Paz, Javier Peñafiel, Juan Ricardo Soto, Lucio Fuentes, and Yola Paucara. The elected alternate members are: Isabel Ortuño, Lidia Chipana, Mario Pacosillo, Katia López, Javier Aramayo, Miriam Pacheco, and Rommy Colque.[3]

Electoral branch[edit]

The electoral branch of Bolivia's government, formally the Plurinational Electoral Organ, is an independent branch of government which replaced the National Electoral Court in 2010. The branch consists of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the nine Departmental Electoral Tribunals, Electoral Judges, the anonymously selected Juries at Election Tables, and Electoral Notaries.[5] Wilfredo Ovando presides over the seven-member Supreme Electoral Tribunal. Its operations are mandated by the Constitution and regulated by the Electoral Regime Law (Law 026, passed 2010). The Organ's first elections will be the country's first judicial election in October 2011 and five municipal special elections expected to be held in 2011.

Local government[edit]

Bolivia is divided in nine departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Beni, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija. Bolivia's nine departments received greater autonomy under the Administrative Decentralization law of 1995. Departmental autonomy further increased with the first popular elections for departmental governors, known as prefects, on 18 December 2005. Departments are governed by the elected governors (until 2010, prefects; and until 2005, appointed by the President) and by independently elected Departmental Legislative Assemblies (until 2010; Departmental Councils).

Bolivian cities and towns are governed by directly elected mayors and councils. Municipal elections were last held on 4 April 2010, with both mayors councils elected to five-year terms. The Popular Participation Law of April 1994, which distributes a significant portion of national revenues to municipalities for discretionary use, has enabled previously neglected communities to make striking improvements in their facilities and services.

Political parties and elections[edit]

For other political parties see List of political parties in Bolivia. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Bolivia.

The governing Movement for Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS) is a Left-wing, Socialist political party led by Evo Morales, founded in 1997. It has governed the country since 2006, following the first ever majority victory by a single party in the December 2005 elections. 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.

The right-of-center opposition includes a variety of political parties. During the 2005-09 political cycle the largest of these was PODEMOS, a successor to Nationalist Democratic Action. In the 2009 elections, several parties and politicians united to form Plan Progreso para Bolivia – Convergencia Nacional, whose presidential candidate, Manfred Reyes Villa and parliamentary slate came in second in the 2009 elections.

Candidate Party Votes Percentage Deputies Senators
  Evo Morales Ayma Movement for Socialism 2.943.209 64,22 88 26
  Manfred Reyes Villa Plan Progress for Bolivia – National Convergence 1.212.795 26,46 37 10
  Samuel Doria Medina National Unity Front 258.971 5,65 3
  René Joaquino Carlos Social Alliance 106.027 2,31 2
  Ana María Flores Social Patriotic Unity Movement 23.257 0,51
  Román Loayza People 15.627 0,34
  Alejo Véliz Peoples for Liberty and Sovereignty 12.995 0,28
  Rime Choquehuanca Social Democratic Bolivia 9.905 0,22
  Valid votes 4.582.786 94,31
  Blank votes 156.290 3,22
  Null votes 120,364 2,48
  Total votes 4.859.440 100 130 36
Source: Comisión Nacional Electoral

Three political parties were dominant from 1982 to 2005: The Revolutionary Nationalist Movement which had carried out the 1952 Revolution; Revolutionary Left Movement; and Nationalist Democratic Action founded in 1982 by former dictator and later elected President Hugo Banzer.[6] Despite the revolutionary names of the first two, they generally pursued centrist economic policies.

Other parties include:

Social movements[edit]

Some of Bolivia's social movements are:

International affairs[edit]

International organization participation:

ALBA, CAN, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM, OAS, ONUB, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNMISET, UNOCI, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO

See also[edit]

References[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bolivian Constitution of 2009(Spanish)
  2. ^ a b c "Nace nueva etapa de la justicia boliviana". Los Tiempos. 2012-01-03. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  3. ^ a b "Votos nulos y blancos alcanzan 60%". Los Tiempos. 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  4. ^ "Consejo de la Magistratura elige a María Cristina Mamani Aguilar primera presidente". Los Tiempos. 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  5. ^ "Posesionan a cuatro Vocales del Tribunal Supremo Electoral". La Jornada. 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  6. ^ "Bolivia cierra un ciclo y emerge el nuevo Estado Plurinacional," La Prensa, December 30, 2009

External links[edit]