U.N. encouraged by Bolivia agreement

July 8, 2005 at 5:17 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, July 8 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was "greatly encouraged" by the Bolivian Parliament's decision to have elections in December.

"The secretary-general is greatly encouraged by the agreements reached by Bolivia's Parliament this week to hold elections for president, vice president, parliament and prefectos (regional governors) in December 2005, followed by a referendum on regional autonomy and elections for a constituent assembly in July 2006," said a statement by a spokesman at U.N. Headquarters in New York.

Bolivia's crisis erupted last month after President Carlos Mesa relinquished his post in the face of widespread protests by the country's impoverished poeple who are intent on reversing what they see as years of oppression at the hands of political elites. Annan responded by dispatching Undersecretary-General for Social and Economic Affairs Jose Antonio Ocampo to see how the United Nations could assist Bolivia is resolving its political and economic problems.

In keeping with Ocampo's recommendation, Annan further announced Friday that an electoral needs assessment mission from the Department of Political Affairs would be visiting Bolivia in the coming days.

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