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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 04:40 GMT
Morales reshapes Bolivia cabinet
Bolivian President Evo Morales
President Morales marked a year in office on Monday
Bolivian President Evo Morales has replaced seven out of 16 ministers of his cabinet - a day after celebrating his first year in office.

Among those sacked was Education Minister Felix Patzi whose reform plans had provoked criticism from the Roman Catholic church and education workers.

Interior Minister Alicia Munoz was also removed after coming under pressure for failing to curb social unrest.

Mr Morales said the changes were needed to respond to Bolivia's problems.

Mr Patzi had come under heavy criticism from the Roman Catholic Church after proposing that religious education classes be replaced with language classes in Bolivia's native tongues.

The former minister had also planned to make it compulsory for all government employees to speak at least one native language if they wanted to keep their jobs.

Ms Munoz was replaced as the interior minister after the opposition had accused her of failing to stem social unrest in the country.

Other cabinet members who lost their jobs were the ministers of justice, economy, labour, rural development and public works.

On Monday, President Morales promised further radical measures to alleviate poverty by redistributing wealth's in South America's poorest country.

He pledged to raise taxes on foreign mining firms and re-distribute 20% of Bolivia's land to poor peasant farmers.


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