General Juan Pereda Asbun, Bolivia's new President after a bloodless coup on the 21st of July announced on Wednesday (26 July) that he would be prepared to hold new general elections in 18 months if the electoral law and registry of voters could be reformed in time.
SV OF President of Bolivia, General Juan Pereda Asbun, with officials behind, and standing behind rostrum.
CU OF President Pereda.
SV President Pereda swearing in his cabinet with view of cabinet members ranged around him. Ends with applause.
SV OF President Pereda making speech, views overlaid of spectators listening and armed guard. (3 SHOTS)
TOP VIEW OF Hall filled with the people at the ceremony.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 4: PEREDA: "Democracy here can in no way be reduced to the concepts and experiences of industrialised countries. The last elections, despite all their deficiencies, made a substantial contribution to the reconstruction of democracy. Unfortunately, certain groups who do not wish, or are not sufficiently interested in contributing to the development of this country, did not pay any attention to the efforts that the Bolivian people were making, and they reduced everything to concern only for the errors and incidents that are inevitable in our environment."
After the first meeting of the new Bolivian cabinet on Wednesday (26 July), General Pereda ordered the release of all political detainees, in a move giving his military government a liberal image in the face of opposition demands for new elections. Informed government sources said he also pledged to respect press freedom and guarantee the jobs of state workers. This pledge followed demands by the militant Miners Federation for the release of 125 political detainees, and the withdrawal of troops from mining zones. The new 138-member Congress was elected at the July 9 elections, the first in Bolivia for twelve years.
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Background: General Juan Pereda Asbun, Bolivia's new President after a bloodless coup on the 21st of July announced on Wednesday (26 July) that he would be prepared to hold new general elections in 18 months if the electoral law and registry of voters could be reformed in time. Earlier in the week, he named a new Cabinet.
SYNOPSIS: Members of the new fifteen-man cabinet were sworn in at the Palacio Quemado in La Paz on Monday (24 July). General Pereda has not said whether he will set up a new Congress.
The Cabinet is made up of military officers and Right-wing supporters. The strongest party presence in the cabinet will be from the far Right Bolivian Socialist Falange, whose whose members take the portfolios of Urban Planning and Housing,Mines and Metallurgy, Education and the Presidential Secretariat. The main opposition leader, Left-wing coalition candidate Hernan Siles zuazo, told Reuters that he planned to head a peaceful campaign demanding immediate elections. Following the swearing in of his cabinet, General Pereda referred to the continuing controversy surrounding the July 9th elections.
General Pereda was the government-backed candidate in Bolivia's recent elections, which were later annulled following charges of fraud.