BOLIVIA
Also: Bulibya, Wuliwya.
Officially: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia; Buliwya Mamallaqta; Wuliwya Suyu; Tetã Volívia.
Seat of government: La Paz / Chuqiyapu.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly. The legislature (Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional) comprises the Cámara de Diputados, elected in geographical constituencies, by minority ethnic constituencies, and by party-list proportional representation in the departamentos (based on the presidential vote), and the Senado, elected by party-list proportional representation (again based on the presidential vote) in the departamentos (with equal representation for each).
Governing party: Movimiento al Socialismo.
Head of government: Evo Morales Ayma, president (since 2006).
Other parties: Plan Progreso para Bolivia – Convergencia Nacional (outgoing legislature); Concertación Unidad Demócrata (Frente de Unidad Nacional, led by Samuel Doria Medina; Movimiento Demócrata Social); Partido Demócrata Cristiano; Movimiento sin Miedo, led by Juan del Granado.
Recent history: Elected president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada of the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario, an entrepreneur raised in the United States, resigned in 2003 under pressure from protesters and amid civil violence. He was succeeded by Carlos Mesa, the vice president. Amid massive, prolonged protests, Mesa also resigned. Supreme court head Eduardo Rodríguez became president pending the election of a new president. That election, in 2005, went to Morales decisively in the first round; Morales is a protégé of Hugo Chávez, and has been following his actions, including issuing a new constitution and removing presidential term limits, and taking financial and military support from him. MAS also dominated the 2005 legislative elections, winning an unprecedented majority. A separate constitutional assembly (2006-7) saw MAS use its simple majority to write a new constitution by itself; eastern provinces resisted this by declaring autonomy. The constitution then passed in a referendum in 2009. Later that year, Morales was easily reelected, and MAS expanded its legislative majority. In 2014, he was again easily reelected, and MAS expanded its legislative majority again, with two thirds in each house. But a proposed constitutional amendment to allow Morales to run for another term was rejected in a 2016 referendum.
FH: 3-3, partly free (democratic). Econ: 6.15 (75), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2016 March 29.
 

O.T. FORD