The incumbent President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), was elected in 2005 on a platform of constitutional reform. After convening a constituent assembly, a new constitution was written (Asamblea Constituyente de Bolivia 2008) but the final vote was boycotted by most of the opposition (Rojas Ortuste 2008: 3). Fearing the centralization of power, leaders of sub-national governments—known as prefects—from the media luna (the four departments of eastern Bolivia, which together take on the rough shape of a half moon, and include Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni, and Pando) held referenda on statutes of autonomy that would give them greater power vis-a-vis the central government. The stage was set for a showdown. Seeking a way out of the impasse, a recall referendum was called for both the president and the prefects.

Bolivia Report