Thu, 10 Mar 2005

From: Reuters

Bolivia president withdraws threat

BOLIVIA: Embattled Bolivian President Carlos Mesa withdrew his threat to quit on Tuesday after a strong show of support from Congress, but Indian leaders opposed to his economic policies vowed to paralyze the country with new protests.

After a suspenseful day of closed-door talks with opposition rivals, a smiling Mesa bounded through La Paz's main square, filled with flag-waving supporters, and told a late-night session of the legislature that he would stay.

"We have been given a new opportunity. The country is clamoring for us to work together," Mesa told Congress. "I want Bolivians to support their president."

The poorest country in South America has been swept by turmoil in recent months as the poor, marginalized indigenous majority fights for more control over the economy.

Mesa had presented his resignation on Monday, but Congress voted nearly unanimously on Tuesday night to reject his offer to quit, as opposition leaders feared that the respected historian's departure could bring even greater chaos. -- Reuters