Bolivia is a republic where the president is
head of state and government. The 2009 plan emphasizes
the rights of indigenous peoples, gives the state
control over important natural resources and restricts
private land ownership. A symbolically important element
is that the coca bush has special protection as a
Bolivia got its new constitution after a bitter
domestic political struggle (see Modern History). The
Constitution is a result of socialists having greatly
increased political influence at the expense of the old
land-owning elite. Evo Morales, who was elected
president in 2005, described the new constitution as a
fresh start for the country, after 500 years of
colonization and humiliation for the indigenous people.
The Constitution emphasizes the rights of the 36
indigenous peoples, and gives the regions increased
Total population and chart of Bolivia for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The Constitution guarantees the state's control over
key resources such as gas, oil and water. A restriction
is made for land ownership, but it only applies to new
land acquisition. An original writing gives the coca
bush and the cultivation of that special protection,
despite the fact that coca leaves are classified as drug
preparations in other countries (see also Agriculture
The president appoints the government, is responsible
for foreign policy and can issue special regulations.
The president is elected for five years in general
elections. According to a rule in the 2009 constitution,
a president can be re-elected once, after which a stay
of at least one term of office would be required. But
the rule was circumvented by Evo Morales, who was
elected and elected for the third time in 2014. He was a
candidate in 2019 but resigned three weeks after the
election, followed by violent protests (see Current
To win the presidential election requires over half
of the vote, or at least 40 percent and 10 percentage
points ahead of the second. Otherwise, a second round of
elections will be held between the two main candidates.
The " Multinational Legislative Assembly
" (formerly Congress) is divided into the
Chamber of Deputies with 130 seats and the
Senate with 36 seats, four for each of
the country's nine departments (corresponding regions).
All members of parliament are elected in general
elections for five years. About half the members of the
Chamber of Deputies are elected by majority and half
from party lists. The voting age is 18 years.
The ministry is headed by prefects (governors) who
have been elected in direct elections since 2005. The
ministries are divided into 112 provinces, which in turn
are divided into municipalities and a special level for
the indigenous population.
Bolivia has long been a politically unstable country.
The coups have been countless. Even since democracy was
reintroduced in the early 1980s, the military has been
working against protesters and presidents have been
forced to retire prematurely. Strikes and political
violence have been common. During the first year of the
2000s, national protests against, for example, natural
gas exports brought the country close to the brink of a
civil war. The traditional parties and the old elite
lost more and more influence.
When Eymo Morales, who is aymara, was elected
president in 2005, it meant that the indigenous people
were represented at the top level in Bolivia for the
first time. Morale's left-wing politics sharpened a
polarization that has long existed in the country,
roughly between poor indigenous people in the highlands
in the west and affluent landowners in the lowlands in
the east. In the past, the conflict was mainly about
land, nowadays it applies equally to natural gas.
Indigenous peoples and trade unions want increased state
control over gas revenue, while the affluent and
gas-rich eastern provinces want more decentralization.
The situation stabilized since Morales and his party
Movement for Socialism (Movimiento al
socialismo, MAS) came to power. Morales
and MAS won both the 2009 and 2014 elections by a good
margin and had their own majority in parliament. The
party lost many seats in 2019 but remained the largest
party and also retained its own majority in both
chambers. However, the presidential election will be
reshaped after a major turmoil that ended with Morales
resigning and fleeing the country. Founded in 1998 by a
number of leftist groups, MAS is strongly US-critical
and faces market liberalism. The party has the strongest
support of the rural poor but support has also been
found among the middle class in the cities.
The traditional parties have lost ground in politics.
Next largest in the 2019 parliamentary elections was a
newly formed Alliance, Citizens'
Community (Comunidad Ciudadana, CC),
which gathers several smaller parties to the right. Its
presidential candidate Carlos Mesa came in second place
in the presidential election. Mesa was president from
2003 to 2005 (see Modern History), then for the
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento
nacionalista revolucionario, MNR). The
MNR was behind the revolution in 1952 (see Older
history) and dominated politics for much of the latter
half of the 20th century. MNR is now a nationalist
right-wing party and plays a stealth role.
Among the traditional parties on the right is the
Christian Democratic Party (Partido
demócrata cristiano, PDC) which was
formed in the 1950s.
Movimiento demócrata social (Social
Democratic Movement, MDS) is a
center-right party formed in 2013 based in the country's
eastern parts, of forces that advocate greater regional
self-government. In the 2014 election, MDS was part of
the then Alliance Democratic Alliance
(Unidad demócrata, UD). The Foreign
Ministry also included the Front for National
Unity (Frente de unidad nacional, UN),
whose leader Samuel Doria Medina was the presidential
candidate of the Valalliance. The UN was formed in 2003
by outbreaks of the Revolutionary Left movement
(Movimiento de la izquierda revolucionaria, MIR).
MIR has also moved to the right. In the 2019
presidential election, Doria Medina gave support to the
Citizens Community candidate Carlos Mesa.