ACCORD REACHED ON CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY VOTING RULES

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07LAPAZ436 16 February 2007 Confidencial Embassy La Paz

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C O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 000436

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/16/2017
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ECON, BL
SUBJECT: ACCORD REACHED ON CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY VOTING RULES

Classified By: Ecopol Counselor Andrew Erickson for reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d).

1. (U) After MAS delegates approved their own proposal for
the Constituent Assembly’s voting system on February 13, MAS
leadership allowed its delegates to return to the negotiating
table and to compromise on their position late February 14.
Under the modified agreement, constitutional changes will
require a two-thirds vote before July 2; articles that fail
to obtain two-thirds approval by that time will be sent to a
"consensus commission" comprised of party leaders and
delegates who drafted the article. The consensus commission
will debate majority and minority proposals for the article
with the objective of reaching an agreement that will garner
approval of two-thirds of the CA’s delegates. If consensus
cannot be reached, contested articles will be voted on via a
public referendum in which voters will choose between the
majority and minority proposals for each article. This
February 14 agreement received 201 "yes" votes and seventeen
"no" votes, with 29 abstentions. National Unity (UN) and
many PODEMOS delegates supported the agreement.

2. (C) Comment: Embassy contacts in Sucre report that this
breakthrough came as a result of a telephone call from Vice
President Garcia Linera instructing his party’s delegates to
make the deal. Whatever the motivation, the deal provides a
rare example of the MAS ceding a hard-line position in the
interest of consensus. This vote on the voting mechanism
breaks a six and a half-month deadlock in the CA and will
enable it to begin its real work— drafting a new
constitution. The big question now is whether the MAS will
work with the opposition to approve the new constitution
before July 2, or whether it will stonewall and take its
chances with a public referendum, which most believe it can
still win. End Comment.
GOLDBERG