August 10, 2007

Problems in MAS-IP: Its Structure and Future

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As you know MAS-IP is not a traditional political party, per se. It is, what its supporters call, a political instrument. This means it is an instrument being used by the various ethnic organizations to take over power in Bolivia. An interesting concept and, up to now, rather successful. However, as with many coalitions, over the long run, it is difficult to maintain unity. It seems as though the MAS is in a crucial moment because public ruptures are starting to come up, specially in the Constitutional Assembly.

To understand these ruptures, it is convenient first to go over the composition of MAS. The 'party' rests on a 'unity pact' made by many ethnic organizations. These organizations represent mainly indigenous peoples and are: The Unique Syndicate Confederation of Bolivian Peasant Workers (CSUTCB), Bartolina Sisa Federation of Peasant Women, the National Council of Markas and Ayllus of Qullasuyu (Conamaq, high lands), and the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples (CIDOB, low lands). In addition, MAS has a series of allies: the Without Fear Movement (MSM), the Cochabamba civic organizations, United Citizens (CIU) and Total Change, and the Pando civic organization Amazonic Movement for Democratic Renovation (MAR) together with Amazonic and Social Power (PASO) (info on the last two).

From these organizations, the CIDOB (5 votes) and Conamaq (5) have recently announced their withdrawal from the pact. This withdrawal has added to also recent efforts of some dissidents to form a third way to counter the weight of MAS. The third way includes all the micro forces in the assembly: MOP (3), AS (3), CN (2), AYRA (2), ASP (2), Lindo Fernández y Edilberto Arispe (Podemos), Loyola Guzmán (MAS) y Juan Zubieta (MCSFA). A possible addition is MBL (1). The dissident movement rests MAS important votes and makes its goal to control 2/3 of the votes an impossibility. MAS controls 142 votes and would need 170 votes to control the assembly. It has been reported that MAS stands to lose around 30 votes. It's looking as an uphill battle for MAS.

Note: See also an article on the same topic on Pronto*