Judge orders suspension of Bolivia referendum; government says it will go forward

The Associated Press, July 23, 2008

La Paz, Bolivia - A top judge is telling Bolivia's government to put off a referendum on whether the president and governors should stay in power.

Magistrate Silvia Salome says electoral officials should suspend the Aug. 10 vote until the full constitutional court can rule on whether the vote is legal. President Evo Morales hopes the vote will boost his standing in disputes with autonomy-minded governors.

Defense Minister Walker San Miguel says the referendum will go ahead anyway. He argues that Salome's decree on Tuesday is invalid because she's the only magistrate left on the Constitutional Court and rulings are supposed to have a three-member quorum. Four other judges resigned and Bolivia's congress has been unable to agree on successors.

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