August 12, 2007

One Year Evaluation of the Constituent Assembly

MABB © ®

830 articles have been produced by the Constituent Assembly (CA) in one year. The problem is that no decisions have come out on the most important issues, such as the county's vision or the autonomies. These, are the tasks for the next four months, until December 14.

La Razón reports on some of the experiences of the assembly members during the stressful process. For example, there was a woman in Pando who crying asked the assembly to help her with her problem, someone had stolen her bike days before. Or the other funny example is that the association of clowns asked their association to be included in the constitution. Rightfully, they asked, "are we not all equal and have the same rights?"

On to more serious examples, an assembly member tells La Razón that distrust between MAS and the opposition was the rule of the day. In the structure of state commission, MAS had presented an article on the official language. The opposition thought the article was better written and decided to support MAS' article. MAS then, as the majority, voted to remove its own article because the opposition was supporting it.

In the committees of autonomy and on the executive, debate was missing. In the later committee there was no debate at all. The groups worked in separate. No point was discussed and arrived at in consensus.

Another problem, according to La Razòn's article was the lack of experience and basic knowledge on the specific themes of each commission. Some assembly members did not even know how to read and write. For example, on the nations and nation committee, some members had to lecture on the meaning of concepts like nation, nations and state. The assembly members who were not 'up to date' on the issues, had to learn in the process or just miss the sessions or even do what others told them to do. Other problems slowing the process down was the constant interference of consultants advising the members. According to some people, these consultants would interrupt the debate, and even change agreements between the assembly members.

An additional issue was absenteeism. Apparently, the members would take days to go back home. Some others would just take sessions free. Finally, other commissions would debate who would have what job, such as assistants and helpers.

What these article reflects is the many problems such an endeavor means. The lack of expertise has weighed heavily on the assembly, I would say. It has cost it precious time. The lack of seriousness from the part of some members was another factor and the lack of trust, was another factor. Hopefully, this time around, things will improve.