Bolivia Set to Carry Out New Constitution

February 12, 2009

Bolivia's president Evo Morales ratified the country's new constitution on February 7, marking a milestone in the country's project of making profound changes in the structures of the state and recovering Bolivia's natural resources from the multinational corporations.

A constituent assembly elected in 2006 drafted the new constitution which the people approved in a referendum on January 28 of this year.

Morales describes the constitution as one which will "refound Bolivia as a new state with equal opportunities, a new state where everyone will have the same rights and duties." The constitution extends democratic rights in Bolivia, including by granting new electoral and autonomy rights to Bolivia's indigenous populations. It also extends the social sector of the economy, especially in the areas of health care and education.

The new constitution also guarantees the Bolivian people ownership of natural resources and state enterprises, marking, in the words of Morales, "the end of the colonial and neoliberal state represented by governments that do nothing more than to auction off our natural resources."