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Today's Politics and Government

Bolivia is a Presidential Representative Democratic Republic. The elected president rules as the head of state over Bolivia's nine departamamentos (provinces): Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, Beni, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz and Tarija. There are three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. Each individual departamento of Bolivia also has a level of autonomy and is run by elected departmental governors known as prefects. Locally, towns and cities are governed by directly elected mayors and councils. Bolivia actually has two capitals, La Paz and Sucre. The administrative seat of Bolivia's government is in La Paz, the highest capital city in the world. Sucre, on the other hand, is the constitutional capital.



The president is elected to a five-year term by popular vote. If the results of the election are unclear and none of the candidates clearly win the popular vote, the vote is handed over to the congress which elects the president from the two candidates with the highest number of votes.

The current president is Evo Morales of the Movement Towards Socialism Party. Morales took office in January of 2006 with vice president Álvaro García Linera. It is interesting to note that Morales is recognized as the first fully indigenous head of state in Boliviain the 470 years since the Spanish Conquest. His important issues have been indigenous rights, the nationalization of natural gas and the promotion of coca growing in Bolivia. Evo Morales was reelected in December 2009 with 65 percent of the vote. One of his important initiatives is a move to give indigenous groups more autonomy. While votes and constitutional referendums haven't passed yet, it is anticipated that Bolivia will set a precedent for indigenous rights and autonomy in South America.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Bolivia: Timeline on Political Dates and Bolivia's Economy.

14 Dec 2009

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