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Political Crisis Deepens in Bolivia


Two of Bolivia's opposition parties are planning to protest a government plan to redistribute land to poor peasants.

The Bolivian newspaper El Deber said Wednesday that 14 senators from the National Unity and Podemos parties oppose the land redistribution plan backed by President Evo Morales. It said the lawmakers will not attend the senate until the ruling party backs down.

Bolivia has 27 senators, and the opposition boycott effectively means the legislative body will not have a quorum to conduct business.

The lower house of congress, where Mr. Morales' party has an ample majority, has already passed legislation that would make it easier for the state to take over land that is not being used or was acquired illegally.

Also Wednesday, governors of the six richest departments in Bolivia said they have broken relations with Mr. Morales.

The governors represent areas where most of Bolivia's economic strength is concentrated, including the agriculturally rich eastern lowlands and the urban centers of La Paz and Cochabamba.

Since taking office this year, Mr. Morales has begun a five-year plan to redistribute farmland to indigenous communities. He has also moved to take control of the oil and gas industry, citing what he has called centuries of foreign exploitation.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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