June 28, 2005

Congress (has to) Gets to Work

MABB © ®
Once again the Bolivian Congress has in its hands the future of the country. It has its work cut out and all that remains is for it to shine.

The Bolivian Congress has to make six important decisions, listed below in order of importance.

1. The date for the next General Elections

2. How to shorten all of the members of Congress' terms so there is a total renewal of leadership, not only in the Executive but also in Congress.

3. The date when the Constituent Assembly will be held

4. The date when the referendum on autonomy will be held

5. The date for the prefectural elections

6. Modifications to the newly enacted Hydrocarbons Law

The absolute priorities are the first two, if the rest is to follow.

We are now seeing slow developments from the different factions. At first, many deputies and senators were reluctant to shorten their mandates. Some even wanted compensation. After a few more threats and a couple of polls, I think the congressmen have finally realized they are not wanted there and I think they are well on their way to accept their fate. The topic of consideration now is to resign in mass. This is the only alternative, according to some news reports. Apparently no one can make them leave their seats, not even the people who elected them. So they have to voluntarily resign. Of course, voluntarily is a stretch in this case.

Also, the exact date when the elections is to be held is a problem. There is a proposal from the MIR faction of December 11. However, no one is volunteering more dates, because everyone is in the process of analysing their advantages and disadvantages. There is also a proposal on the table to hold general elections, prefectural elections, Constituent Assembly and the autonomic referendum, all at once.

Wouldn't this be the most economical option? This way, the government only has to organize one round of elections. Although, I have to admit, the Constituent Assembly complicates matters a good deal.

I just have one worry. I hope Congress rises to the challange and starts delivering some results. This week, instead of getting righ to work, they took a recess (vacation). Why is it that this Congress manages to take a brake in the middle of a crisis? I just cannot understand.