Bolivia President, Evo Morales Loses Referendum

Evo MoralesExit polls suggest President Evo Morales of Bolivia has narrowly lost a referendum to allow him to stand for a fourth term in office.

One poll suggested that 52.3% voted against the proposal to amend the constitution, while another suggested it was 51%.

But his Deputy said that Bolivia’s first Head of State of indigenous origin could still win, as official results trickle in.

The change would have let Mr Morales remain in power until 2025.

Meanwhile, opposition supporters have been celebrating the referendum result in parts of the main city, La Paz.

The BBC reports that the opposition leader, Samuel Medina, urged Mr Morales to “recognise the results” and focus on solving Bolivia’s problems in his remaining time in office instead of trying to run for another term.

However, Vice President, Alvaro Linera, said the results so far were a “technical tie.”

He urged people to wait for the official results saying that any celebrations by the opposition were premature.

“Opinion polls, especially exit polls, make mistakes,” he told reporters.

“They don’t take into account the vote abroad. They don’t go to the more remote locations, where there is more support for our socialist movement.

“It’s highly likely that the numbers shown by the opinion polls would be very different from the reality,” he said.

Pope Francis Focuses On Poor In Bolivia

pope Pope Francis has begun his second leg tour to three poorest countries in South America.

He was received by Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, President Evo Morales, who gave him a ritual pouch with coca, a sacred leaf in the Andes.

Pope Francis insisted that the Catholic Church should continue to play an important role, to protect the most vulnerable in society from the impact of capitalism.

He also called for dialogue between Bolivia and Chile over their long-time border dispute.

The Pope was said to have flown in from Ecuador and will also visit Paraguay.

The Pontiff hailed Bolivia for encouraging the poor to be active citizens, saying ”Bolivia is making important steps towards including broad sectors in the country’s economic, social and political life”.