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Why Bolivia reelected Evo Morales

His presidential victory Sunday chalks up another important win for Bolivia's Evo Morales and the region's hard-left, Chávez-led bloc, which also includes Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

Supporters of Bolivia's President Evo Morales celebrate his re-election victory in La Paz on Sunday.

David Mercado/Reuters

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Bolivian President Evo Morales easily won his second five-year term Sunday night, solidifying the revolution he promises to bring to the country's long-oppressed indigenous majority.

While recent elections in countries such as Uruguay and Honduras have seen Latin America's pendulum swing back to centrist candidates, Mr. Morales – Bolivia's first indigenous president – is one of the region's most strident leftists, a close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and a vocal foe of the US. Morales's win chalks up another important victory for the region's hard-left, Chávez-led bloc, which also includes Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

Morales, a former coca grower, has many detractors, particularly in the energy-rich lowlands who say his programs to assert greater state control over the economy could destroy national productivity. But his wide victory margin was no surprise: he has long appealed to Bolivians who felt shut out by the old political elites in a country where 60 percent of the population identifies as indigenous and the same percentage falls below the poverty line.

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