[UPDATE: Eduardo posts the data and a discussion of the departmental elections below. Thanks, Eduardo!]
I want to call readers’ attention to an excellent radio program on Bolivia. On Open Source, it aired on January 3, but I just now have had a chance to listen to it.
It features Jeffrey Sachs and Miguel Centellas. Sachs, of course, is an internationally renowned development economist and advisor on economic reform in Bolivia during the hyperinflationary crisis twenty years ago (as well as in post-Soviet Russia and elsewhere). Centellas is familiar to F&V readers from his many excellent comments here in various threads on Bolivia and MMP systems. Jim Schultz, of the Democracy Center and Blog from Bolivia is also on the program.
The program aired at a time when, as Centellas notes, it was not clear what Morales’s intentions were with respect to the gas reserves and foreign investment. On that point, I highly recommend Steven Taylor’s Poliblog post today regarding news on Morales’s nationalization proposals. (Sachs also discusses privatization and nationalization on the Open Source program.) I also weighed in at Poliblog with a comment on Steven’s post.
Also, I want to take the opportunity to comment about the Bolivian legislative outcome and the possibility of “autonomy” for the departments, whose governors were, for the first time, also elected in December. Miguel said on the program that Morales’s party, MAS, would not have a majority in either house. Perhaps he did not have the results available at the time, but MAS did win a majority of seats in the lower house (apparently 73 of 100 seats, or slightly better than thought when Miguel and Wilfred discussed the result here on January 5).
In the Senate, MAS has just 12 of the 27 seats. PODEMOS, the party of the runner-up Jorge Quiroga, won 13. Interestingly, one of the non-MAS, non-PODEMOS seat is held by the MNR, the party of the 1952 revolution. (Miguel, on the radio program, discusses Morales’s need to bargain for the support of those two senators.)
If Miguel or anyone has the breakdown of departmental governors, please post. Many, of course, will be controlled by parties (or independents) not supportive of MAS, which is significant, given that this is the first time those positions have been elected, and there are ongoing moves towards greater departmental autonomy, or potentially even federalization. Miguel Centellas also discusses this possibility on the program, noting the inherent conflict between the demands of gas-producing departments for control over revenues and the demands of gas-poor departments for more central control over these revenues–shades of Iraq’s federalization disputes, I might note.
The program is really good, and well worth a listen by anyone interested in current developments in Bolivia.