August 11, 2008 / 4:13 PM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX-Bolivian President Evo Morales' policies


LA PAZ, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Buoyed by a landslide recall election vote, Bolivian President Evo Morales aims to push through major constitutional reforms in early 2009, but it will likely deepen an acrimonious dispute with rightist provincial governors demanding autonomy from his central government.

Here is a list of Morales’ left-wing policies, on which he has vowed to forge ahead:

ECONOMY - Morales is trying to increase state revenue from energy and mining and has pledged to invest the extra cash to fight poverty. He has nationalized the country’s largest telecommunications company, Entel.

ENERGY - Morales has sharply increased taxes paid by energy companies and promised state-run energy firm YPFB a majority stake in future ventures with the private sector.

Energy companies including Brazil’s Petrobras, Spain’s Repsol and France’s Total have agreed to continue operating in Bolivia under the rules set by Morales.

Morales has also hiked the price Argentina and Brazil must pay for Bolivian natural gas.

MINING - Morales nationalized the country’s largest smelter, Vinto, in 2007 and has increased taxes on mining companies.

FOREIGN POLICY - Morales has established strong ties with Venezuela’s socialist leader, Hugo Chavez, who has sponsored some of Morales’ pro-poor policies with petrodollars. Morales accuses the United States of conspiring against him.

LAW - Morales wants to push through a new constitution that would pave the way for more leftist reforms and give the country’s indigenous majority more power. The new constitution would also allow him to run for president for a second consecutive term. Presidential Minister Juan Ramon Quintana says the government is aiming for a referendum on the new constitution in early 2009.

LAND - Morales’ ambitious plan to redistribute swathes of "illegally-owned" or "idle" land among the poor in opposition-controlled provinces was approved by Congress, but then stalled because of strong resistance from opposition governors.

HANDOUTS - Morales has created programs to hand out cash to school children and the elderly with money from hydrocarbon revenues previously assigned to regional governments.

COCA - Morales, a former coca farmer, is pursuing a "zero cocaine, but not zero coca" policy focused on battling the drug trade and promoting legitimate use of the coca leaf.

The United States has called the policy permissive and warned that coca cultivation is increasing. (Writing by Eduardo Garcia, Editing by Simon Gardner and Kieran Murray)






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