|With the deal, President Evo Morales halted a hunger strike.|
Bolivia breaks deadlock on election law
LA PAZ, Bolivia - President Evo Morales ended a five-day hunger strike yesterday after Bolivia's congress broke a political deadlock, approving a law that lets him run for reelection in December.
Morales, a husky Aymara Indian, looked exhausted and a few pounds thinner as he formally enacted the law before a crowd that chanted "Evo, the people are with you!"
Morales, 49, had spent the weekend reclining on a mattress in the presidential palace, drinking chamomile tea and chewing coca leaves, a mild stimulant that helps suppress the appetite.
"The people should not forget that you need to fight for change. We alone can't guarantee this revolutionary process, but with people power it's possible," the leftist leader said before dawn, flanked by 13 union activists who joined him in the fast.
The legislative compromise, reached at 4 a.m. yesterday, reserves seven seats for minority indigenous groups in the 130-seat lower of house of the new congress, and enables Bolivians living abroad to vote, potentially adding about 300,000 voters, most of whom live in Argentina, to the 4 million eligible domestically.
The law, a follow-up to a new constitution voters overwhelmingly approved in January, also sets stricter standards for voter authentication, introducing a $30 million system of biometric identification, based on voters' fingerprints.