President Evo Morales seemed to have secured an easy victory in a recall referendum on Sunday, giving him a fresh mandate to advance efforts to redistribute petroleum royalties and private farmlands among the country’s impoverished indigenous majority.
Reports on national television, citing preliminary vote counts, said that Mr. Morales, a former coca farmer whose pro-indigenous policies and alliance with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela have irritated the Bush administration, had won the referendum with 63.5 percent supporting his administration.
There was some good news to come out of this election, with a few eastern Bolivian governors making some noise.
Sunday's recall referendum, which gave Morales 63 percent of the vote according to unofficial results, did nothing to break the political crisis pitting the leftwing president against conservative governors seeking autonomy for their gas-rich states, analysts said.
Those governors, in the lowlying eastern states of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Pando and Beni, also emerged from the referendum with strong votes bolstering their ambitions.
The only way to end the stalemate now was for Morales's government to start negotiating with the governors, the analysts said.
In his post-referendum victory speech late Sunday, Morales made a first step towards offering an olive branch by congratulating his foes on their wins, and calling on them to work with him.
Though it seems negotiation won't stop further nationalization by Morales, who now has a reassurance by the populace that it's the right decision to make.