Annan hails democratic solution to political impasse in Bolivia

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 8, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has hailed the democratic solution to the political impasse in Bolivia, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.

In a statement released by the spokesman, Annan said he was greatly encouraged by the agreements reached by Bolivia's parliament this week to hold elections for President, Vice- President, Parliament and Prefectos (Regional Governors) in December 2005, followed by a referendum on regional autonomy and elections for a Constituent Assembly in July 2006.

The Secretary-General is "heartened that the majority of Bolivia's political forces have worked together to find a democratic solution to the political impasse in the country," Dujarric said.

Annan reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to send assistance to Bolivia in carrying out these important elections.

According to the statement, an Electoral Needs Assessment Mission from the UN Department of Political Affairs will be visiting Bolivia in the coming days at the invitation of Bolivia's National Electoral Council.

"In this regard electoral assistance was one of the recommendations made by Under-Secretary-General for Social and Economic Affairs, Jose Antonio Ocampo, as a result of his recent visit to Bolivia on the Secretary-General's behalf," the spokesman noted.

The Bolivian congress on Tuesday set Dec. 4 as the date for presidential and congressional elections, paving the way for quieting down the country's political chaos.