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Bolivia

In Bolivia DIPD supports a party-to-party cooperation between the Danish Socialist People’s Party (SF) and Bolivian Movimento al Socialismo (MAS) – a hybrid of a political party and a federation of social movements.

Bolivian society has historically been characterized by a tense political climate with a high level of activism and regular demonstrations and protests. This has also been the case since 2006, when Evo Morales was elected president for the first time, and then was re-elected in 2009 on a programme of changing the power balance from the rich lowlands part of the country to the poor highlands part of the country.

The delegation from MAS visiting Copenhagen April 2012

Background

In 2006, the Bolivian population for the first time in the country’s history elected an Indigenous, an Aymara Indian, Evo Morales from the Movimento al Soicalismo (MAS) as president. More than 60 percent of the population identify themselves as indigenous.

After taking power MAS clashed with the overthrown political establishment in the constitution-making process, which lead to political confrontation and violence. The MAS government intended to change the power balance in the country from the rich low lands of Bolivia to the highland provinces where the poor, Indian population predominate. Among other things president Morales nationalized the natural gas and oil industries of the country, an act which was reaffirmed in the new constitution. As a response the low lands have fought for increasing autonomy.

The Bolivian society is marked by a tense political climate with a high level of activism and regular demonstrations and protests. Some social movements have demonstrated their discontent with the present government by means of strikes, blockades and demonstrations. These manifestations have a great impact on Bolivian politics. The Tipnis highway project was for example cancelled because of hundreds of indigenous protesters who undertook an exhausting march from the lowlands to the capital. The president Mr. Morales himself a declared environmentalist and an indigenous rights defender was beaten by his own method and was forced to rule out the establishment of the road.

The political system in Bolivia is a multiparty system and President Evo Morales was reelected in 2009 and again in 2014. The local and regional elections were held in 2015, where his party MAS suffered serious setbacks. Evo Morales is, however, still popular among the Bolivians, despite the corruption scandals that his party has been accused of.

DIPD in Bolivia

The Danish Socialist People’s Party and Movimento al Socialismo (MAS)

The focus of the previous project (2014-2015) was on capacity building to manage change and consolidation within MAS. This was be done by establishing a team of internal trainers, who conducted workshops in conflict management and ensure that the methods are shared at all levels of the party. The aim of the team of internal trainers (moderators) was to ensure sustainability and avoid conflicts in the party both now and in the future.

The first phase of the project (2012-2013) dealt with making MAS a stronger organization by strengthening an inclusive political culture and by making more women and youth participate in the decision-making processes.

A new phase of the project is expected to begin in the beginning of 2016.

DIPD also supported a party-to-party cooperation between the Bolivian key party in opposition Verdad y Democracia Social (VERDES) and Danish Liberal Alliance from 2013-2014. The general objective of the project was to assist VERDES in building a national alternative to MAS, thus insuring, that Bolivia can take a first step towards recreating a real multiparty system.

More information

Contact Marianne Victor Hansen, International Consultant at the Socialist People’s Party at marianne.victor.hansen@ft.dk

Visit the homepage of The Socialist People’s Party.

Contact Political Consultant, Jonathan Nielsen from Liberal Alliance at jonathan.nielsen@ft.dk.

Visit the homepage of Liberal Alliance (in Danish only).