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Sergio Reyes & Omar Sierra on Latin America's New Constitutions


Saturday, September 11, 2010, 7:00 p.m. Join Sergio Reyes (Boston May Day Committee and Latin@s for Social Change) and Omar Sierra (sociologist and Consul General of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) for a survey of the radical changes and advances in Latin American constitutional development. Using his firsthand impressions of the process in Bolivia and a textual analysis of the new constitution of the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia, Reyes will provide his assessment and lead the conversation. Additional speakers and experiences will be announced shortly. Sponsored by the Boston May Day Committee.

Here's Wikipedia's (8/20/10) summary of the new constitution: "The current Constitution of Bolivia is the 17th constitution in the country's history; previous constitutions were enacted in 1826, 1831, 1834, 1839, 1843, 1851, 1861, 1868, 1871, 1878, 1880, 1938, 1945, 1947, 1961 and 1967. It came into effect on February 7, 2009, when it was promulgated by President Evo Morales after being approved in a referendum with 90.24% participation. The referendum was held on January 25, 2009, and the constitution was approved by 61.43% of voters.

The 2009 Constitution defines Bolivia as a unitary plurinational, and secular (rather than a Catholic, as before) state. It calls for a mixed economy of state, private, and communal ownership; restricts private land ownership to a maximum of 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres); authorizes a variety of autonomies at the local and departmental level. It elevates the electoral authorities, to become a fourth constitutional power; introduces the possibility of recall elections for all elected officials; and enlarges the Senate. Members of the enlarged National Congress will be elected by first past the post voting in the future, in a change from the previous mixed member proportional system. The judiciary is reformed, and judges will be elected in the future and no longer appointed by the National Congress. It declares natural resources to be the exclusive dominion of the Bolivian people, administered by the state. Sucre will be acknowledged as Bolivia's capital, but the institutions will remain where they are (executive and legislative in La Paz, judiciary in Sucre). The electoral authorities will be situated in Sucre.

 

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Constitution of the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia (Spanish, PDF format)571.57 KB