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Electoral Campaign Begins In Bolivia

LA PAZ, July 14 (BERNAMA-NNN-AGENCIES) -- Bolivian political organisations meeting all requirements established by the Electoral Supreme Court (TSE) are able to begin Monday their campaigns for the elections, set for Oct 12.

Marco Ayala, TSE spokesperson, said that those parties with legal status and candidates listed, could begin their public campaigns.

Ayala also asserted that campaign should only be carried out during public actions and not by the media, something that will be possible from Sept 12 on, as establish by the electoral schedule.

"All citizens are involved in this process, therefore freedom of information and freedom of speech are basic principles of Bolivia's democracy and that is our first responsibility," said Ayala.

Incumbent Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of the majority-Indian nation, is seeking a third consecutive term.

The TSE designated Dec 7 as the date for a runoff if no candidate secures a majority in the initial balloting.

Voters will also elect the vice president, senators and members of the lower house in the balloting. In addition, for the first time the public will select Bolivia's representatives in regional organisations like the Andean Parliament.

The vote is sure to be marked by controversy, as some say Morales' bid for a third term is unconstitutional. Bolivia's 2009 Constitution limits the tenure of the head of state to two consecutive terms. Morales came to power in January 2006.

However, a ruling by the Constitutional Court allowed Morales' new candidacy, arguing that his first mandate does not count because it took place before the adoption of the new national stature.

-- BERNAMA-NNN-AGENCIES




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