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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 01:10 GMT 02:10 UK
New Bolivian leader names team
President Mesa reviewing troops
President Mesa (centre) promised a referendum on the gas project
The new Bolivian President Carlos Mesa has presented his 15-member cabinet at a ceremony in La Paz.

The cabinet is mainly composed of independents and technocrats with no apparent connections to Bolivia's main political parties, and includes two Indians.

Earlier, the leader of the main indigenous workers' confederation (CSUTCB), Felipe Quispe, warned that Mr Mesa's new government would face further demonstrations within 90 days if it failed to abandon some of the plans which brought down the previous president, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.

These include the gas export project at the centre of violent protests by tens of thousands of people in La Paz, staged in opposition to the government's free market policies.

New departments

As he announced the appointments, Mr Mesa called on the new cabinet members to exercise "absolute transparency in your work."

Anti-government protesters in La Paz, Bolivia
The protests left more than 60 people dead
His cabinet includes the new posts of minister for indigenous people and minister for popular participation.

The new president has also appointed a special delegate charged with fighting corruption.

An Indian from eastern Bolivia, Justo Seoane, was named as Minister for Indigenous and Ethnic People.

Mr Mesa said he hoped the appointment would help tackle the problems of social exclusion, which face Bolivia's impoverished majority.

Mr Mesa was reportedly scrambling hours before the ceremony to assemble the cabinet, as the people he had hand-picked were said to be hesitant to drop the projects they were working on to join a government he said would be short-lived.

Mr Sanchez de Lozada resigned on Friday, following four weeks of deadly protests over the unpopular natural gas export project.




SEE ALSO:
Analysis: Bolivia still teetering
20 Oct 03  |  Americas
Bolivian leader's acceptance speech
18 Oct 03  |  Americas
Q and A: Bolivian gas protests
16 Oct 03  |  Americas
In pictures: Bolivia clashes
13 Oct 03  |  Photo Gallery
Country profile: Bolivia
06 Sep 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Bolivia
14 Oct 03  |  Country profiles


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