Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Credibility of Campaign Promises

Franz Chavez

LA PAZ, Nov 23 (IPS) - If two candidates offer funds for the poor, but one of them is known for living up to his promises, who will the citizens vote for? That would seem to broadly describe the choice Bolivian voters are facing in the Dec. 6 general elections.

President Evo Morales of the leftist Movement to Socialism (MAS) is expected to handily win a second term, for the 2010-2015 period, without the need for a runoff election.

Morales, the first-ever indigenous president in a country where native peoples form a downtrodden majority, won the December 2005 elections with 53.7 percent of the vote - an unprecedented majority in a country where leaders are sometimes elected with less than half that level of support.

And in an August 2008 recall referendum, he took a record 67 percent of the vote.

Since he took office in January 2006, Morales has broken the mould of traditional Bolivian presidents, putting a priority on social justice and the rights of indigenous people. Among the tools he has used are cash transfers to the poorest segments of society.

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