April 15, 2009

Electoral Law Passed

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On Tuesday, April 14, 2009, at 4.04 am, the Bolivian Congress passed the new "transitory" Electoral Law wich has 75 articles and 8 disposiciones transitorias (additional rules). With this, this and next year's electoral schedule are set. The major decisions are:

  1. The creation of a biometric voter registration system (Art. 19).
  2. General elections on December 6, 2009 - This means re-election for Morales and Garcia and the election of members of Congress (Art. 25).
  3. At the same time there will be referenums on autonomy for the departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, Potosí, Chuquisaca and Oruro.
  4. In addition, there will also be a referendum on regional autonomy for the Gran Chaco province
  5. On April 4, 2010 there will be municipal and departmental elections when Prefects and Mayors will be elected (Art. 26).
  6. In the last minute it was decided to set the "special" indigenous seats to 7 instead of 8 due to the intervention of the Chuquisaca faction.
  7. The Vocales (people who make decisions in the National Electoral Court) will remain there until the next elections (Art. 13).
  8. The President and Vicepresident winner will be elected by obteined votes of 50+1 per cent or 40+ per cent with a minimum 10 per cent difference with the second winner.
  9. There will be 4 Senators per Department and 130 Deputies in the lower chamber (single district and party lists) (Art. 32, 35, 39).
The law passed by the Chamber of Deputies included 14 seats, but the Concertation Committee (the negotiation venue between the opposition and MAS) modified this number to 8 seats. In the end it was lowered to 7 seats for the above mentioned reasons.

How the negotiation went:

At one point, the opposition and MAS could not agree on how voters might register. The opposition questioned the documents required to register, namely it was agains the use of passports, the RUN (Registro Unico Nacional), and the military service document. Their main concern was falsification. In the end the documents were left the way they were.

The opposition wants the resignation of the National Electoral Court, Mr. Exeni.

Some links:
Law 1660, Law 1245, La Razon article.