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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
Bolivian press cheers referendum result

Bolivia's press is upbeat on the outcome of a crucial referendum backing government proposals to export the country's natural gas reserves.

Several papers describe the 18 July referendum as a victory for democracy, and some call for responsible implementation of the proposals.

The results of the 18 July referendum aside, the vote for democracy is perhaps the most important outcome of the referendum... The people of Bolivia have carried out their duty with discipline, dispelling the image of a disparate, divided and conflict-ridden country. The responsibility now lies with the authorities, the members of parliament, and the political and union leaders... to embark on a new relationship with the government... guided by dialogue, contribution and respect for the will of the people.

La Razon - editorial

The outright victory of the "Yes" vote... has created a situation that the government must use to design a state policy which will allow the gas to be used wisely. Without forgetting the importance of energy to the national economy... it is time to address what matters with our sights set on a democratic future of sustainable development and social justice. Yesterday, the country took a step in that direction.

La Prensa - editorial

The gas referendum received an emphatic "Yes" yesterday, to the first three questions at least. Now the second battle begins, the debate over the nationalisation of the energy resources.

La Prensa

The normality in which the democratic exercise by the people took place will allow Bolivia's image outside its borders to be restored to a certain degree. One consideration not directly related to the referendum but no less important than the responses to the five questions posed is the emphatic "No" to radicalism, irrationality and violence. And, as expressed in the atmosphere in which yesterday's activities took place, the country and the full exercise of democracy are therefore the winners.

El Deber - editorial

According to the Organisation of American States (OAS), it was a positive and extremely valuable mission... responding to the needs of a people who, by means of a new instrument, made their voice count in the destiny of the country's energy resources.

El Diario

"Bolivia has reaffirmed its democratic image and will", the Organisation of American States representative, Richard Cohen, said yesterday.

Los Tiempos

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC's Elliott Gotkine
"Some nine months ago the whole of Bolivia was plunged into turmoil"

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