July 26, 2008

The Fight Over the Recall Referendum Heats Up

MABB © ®

In the last two days, the future of the August 10 recall referendum has become even more uncertain. As a result of the unconstitutionality allegations, and last week's opinion issued by a Constitutional Tribunal judge urging the electoral court to stop the process until the legality of the referendum is cleared, the departmental courts are thinking it over. This action, by the departmental courts, is triggered by a resolution issued by Exeni, the National Electoral Court President, expressing the intent to continue with the organizational process. However, the Vicepresident of the CNE, Jeronimo Pinheiro, has recently voiced his disappointment because Exeni, apparently, did not take the decision in a meeting in consultation with his colleagues, but he took it himself.

As a result, the departmental courts are, first, asking the CNE to take a stand on the matter, and second, to take that stand in cosultation with all the members of the court's assembly. Some courts are even thinking, or rather, leaning towards not participating in the organization of the referendum anymore. Let's recall that the Chuquisaca court decided not to participate.

While this is happening at the courts, the campaign is getting by the day more violent. Every time Evo Morales visits a town bringing gifts, such as ambulances, computers, schools, hospitals, etc., which of course are not part of his campaign for re-election, opposing groups show up and try to hackle him and in the end result in a physical confrontation with the 'security' forces which are part of Morales' entourage.

And, of course, you have Vicepresident Alvaro Garcia, the pacifist, calling for an organized 'civil defense' to support the government or, better yet, the revolution, as he likes to call it.