The hungry Bolivian president (no, really)

It worked for Gandhi. So now, Evo Morales, crusading socialist president of Bolivia, is on a hunger strike. The goal? To persuade the legislature to pass an election law that would allocate an additional 14 seats in the body to indigenous representatives. Morales is apparently drinking water (pictured above), but nothing more. As he told ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
586850_090410_evo12.jpg
586850_090410_evo12.jpg

It worked for Gandhi. So now, Evo Morales, crusading socialist president of Bolivia, is on a hunger strike. The goal? To persuade the legislature to pass an election law that would allocate an additional 14 seats in the body to indigenous representatives.

Morales is apparently drinking water (pictured above), but nothing more. As he told Radio Fides in Bolivia (my translation): 

It worked for Gandhi. So now, Evo Morales, crusading socialist president of Bolivia, is on a hunger strike. The goal? To persuade the legislature to pass an election law that would allocate an additional 14 seats in the body to indigenous representatives.

Morales is apparently drinking water (pictured above), but nothing more. As he told Radio Fides in Bolivia (my translation): 

Already, more than 24 hours have passed… I feel that it is something very infathomable that the opposition parties do not understand the clamorning request of the people”

The opposition argues that the electoral law is one step further in consolidating the president’s grasp on Bolivian politics. Since the president remains most popular among indigenous people, it is assumed those extra 14 seats will go to him. The president triumphed in a referendum earlier this year, granting more political power to indigenous citizens. If unchecked in the legislature, the opposition fears he could move forward with promises to nationalize crucial parts of the country’s economy. 

His prospects of success? Maybe quite good. The legislature tentatively agreed to parts of that bill on Thursday night (after 27 hours of session). 

And Morales himself? He promises to hold out. 

I will remind them [the opposition] of my history of hungry strikes, in defense of the coca leaf and human rights in [the province of] Chapare I was in a hunger strike for 18 days together will the Bolivian workers.”

Since it supresses the appetite, we suspect the Bolivian president might be chewing his favorite, coca leaves, with that side of water. And suddenly a hunger strike doesn’t sound so bad.

Gonzalo Jallasi/AFP/Getty Images

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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