Population: 10.8 million
Area: 1 098 581 km2
GDP (PPP): 73.88 billion dollar (2015 estimate)
GDP per capita (PPP): 6 500 $ (2015 estimate)
Rate of growth: 1.56 % (2015 estimate)
Head of state and head of government: Juan Evo Morales
Bolivia gained its independence from Spain in 1825. Its history since then has been that of military coups – about 200 coups and counter-coups have taken place since its independence. During the 80s, however, the country transitioned to a relatively democratic civil government.
In terms of human rights, Bolivia has ratified many – but not all – of the main conventions. Implementation, however, is lacking. One of the enduring problems is the amnesty granted to perpetrators during the era of the military regime. The legal system is corrupt and ineffective. Poverty is wide-spread. In 2007, 60 percent of the population was estimated as living below the poverty line.
In May 2008, the Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur) was founded. It is a union of the South American nations modelled on the EU. The union already has twelve member states, though its function is, as of yet, mostly symbolic. In Latin America, a number of centre-right parties cooperate together in the Unión de Partidos Latinoamericanos (UPLA), a regional member of the International Democrat Union (IDU).
In October 2014, president Juan Evo Morales from the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) was re-elected with 61 percent of the votes. Morales’ main election pledge was to renationalize Bolivian gas resources. This promise has been fulfilled, despite international protests. In February 2016, a referendum took place on a constitutional reform in order for Morales to run for presidency again. However, 51.4 percent rejected the constitutional reform presented by the government.
Morales is the first South American president of Indian origin and his policies have revived economic and racial tensions. The divide is one of indigenous versus European origin, one of the poor western highlands versus the rich and industrialised eastern lowlands. Calls have been made for a referendum on splitting the country. However, this presently seems like an improbable outcome. In January of 2009, a referendum was held on modifications to the constitution granting the indigenous population greater influence over natural resources as well as making the president eligible for re-election.
The Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation cooperates with Movimiento Demócrata Social.
The next presidential election will be held in 2019, in conjunction with the parliamentary election.
It is a stated goal of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation to educate female and youth decision-makers. In 2012, a number of conferences on the theme “Empoderamiento de Mujeres” took place with participants from different Latin American countries. Concurrently with these conferences, youth conferences were arranged on the theme “Principles for a Free Society”.