Bolivia's President Offers To Resign - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Bolivia's President Offers To Resign

Bolivian President Carlos Mesa offered to resign yesterday, seeking to put an end to weeks of anti-government protests that have paralyzed the capital and other parts of the country. In a nationally televised address Monday night, Mesa said he was submitting his resignation to Congress - the second time this year he has offered to step down because of the street demonstrations. "This is as far as I can go," Mesa said.

It was not immediately clear when congressional leaders would meet to consider Mesa's offer, or if lawmakers would accept his resignation. The president made a similar offer in March, but lawmakers voted to reject it. His latest decision came hours after tens of thousands of indigenous Indians, miners and labour protesters brought central La Paz to a standstill in the largest anti-government march seen in weeks. 

 On Sunday, Mesa asked the Roman Catholic Church to help defuse weeks of protests that have brought the capital, La Paz, to a virtual standstill. The protesters -- largely members of the country's Indian population -- are calling for the nationalization of the country's gas and oil industries and for a more even distribution of wealth.

Bolivia, with a population of 9 million, has long been one of South America's poorest countries and a major recipient of international aid.

Mesa took office in October 2003 when a bloody popular revolt over free-market economic policies forced his predecessor, former president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, to flee the country.

Mesa, a historian and journalist turned politician, is an independent without a political party supporting him in Congress.

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