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Bolivia sets date for census after violent protests

#Bolivia #sets #date #census #violent #protests

Bolivia’s leftist President Luis Arce said Friday a bill had been approved to hold a national census in March 2024 after weeks of deadly protests over the count.

“We passed this Census Law so people’s blood will not be spilled. The census will take place on March 23, 2024,” the president said in a televised message.

For almost five weeks, the economic hub of Santa Cruz was rocked by unrest over fears a new census to update spending allocation and the number of seats the region would be entitled to in parliament, would not take place before 2025 elections.

The protests, which began on October 22, were called off last Saturday after the bill was approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies. It has now passed the Senate and been promulgated into law.

In addition to cementing the census date, the bill pledges government spending changes and legislative assembly seat allotment ahead of the country’s 2025 presidential election.

Bolivia’s last census was held in 2012, with a fresh count set to take place in November 2022 postponed by the government, who said they did not have time to organize it.

The protests left four people dead and more than 170 injured, and included clashes between opponents and supporters of the ruling party.

Transport was paralyzed, retail markets closed and riot police used tear gas to quell the unrest.

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