Morales has a battle in Bolivia

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Re recent coverage of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ approval of a recall referendum in August: While exhibiting confidence by voluntarily submitting himself to a recall vote, there are many opposing forces that can interfere with his ability to obtain the necessary Yes votes that would then prevent him from having to run again for the presidency.

One opposing factor comes from the eastern part of the country calling for a more decentralized government. Led by Santa Cruz’s recent big win in its pro-autonomy referendum, five other states want to follow suit.

Not only is a new type of decentralized federalism becoming a popular issue separating the wealthier, more Europeanized part of the country from the poorer indigenous population found in the western half of Bolivia, but long-standing issues such as race and class create differences between Morales and the middle class.

What makes Morales’ battle to stay in office precarious is that it has two fronts: He is being confronted by the population of the lowland areas as well as by issues affecting his relationship with the miners and other labor forces in the highlands.