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Sanchez de Lozada Seals Deal to Win Bolivian Presidential Vote - 2002-07-26

Bolivia's former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada has sealed a deal with a political rival giving him enough support to become the country's next leader.

The 72-year-old millionaire businessman reached agreement late Thursday with another former president, leftist Jaime Paz Zamora, to assure enough votes for Mr. Sanchez de Lozada when Bolivia's congress meets August 3 to choose a new president.

Mr. Sanchez de Lozada, who was president from 1993 to 1997, placed first in balloting on June 30, but did not garner enough votes to win outright victory. Mr. Paz Zamora, who ruled Bolivia from 1989 to 1993, placed fourth. The alliance gives the future government a strong enough majority to win congressional approval of programs to help Bolivia's poor.

The deal also effectively kills chances for second-place finisher Evo Morales to win the presidency. Mr. Morales is a leader of coca-growing Indians who had campaigned against U.S.-led efforts to wipe out the crop, which is used to manufacture cocaine.

President Sanchez de Lozada would take over from President Jorge Quiroga, who was prohibited by Bolivia's constitution from seeking re-election.