One killed in Bolivian autonomy referendum violence (Lead)

May 5th, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by admin  

Santa Cruz (Bolivia), May 5 (IANS) At least one person has been killed and 35 injured in clashes during an autonomy referendum in this eastern Bolivian province, Spain’s EFE news agency reported quoting hospital sources. President Alvaro Morales’ government called Sunday’s referendum illegal and that it would not recognise autonomy, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

According to an exit poll conducted by Red Uno TV, 85.9 percent of the voters supported autonomy, while Unitel TV found 85 percent “Yes” vote.

Santa Cruz is the country’s wealthiest province with large reserves of natural gas. The province is seeking more autonomy over its security, energy resources and finances.

Although no voter turnout was given, several observers said a large number of people had participated in the polls.

In many towns of the province, supporters of the ruling Movement Toward Socialism party (MAS), clashed with the central government supporters.

The province has 935,959 registered voters.

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