Bolivia Presidency Sought by New Indian Candidate, Tiempos Says
March 17, 2009 -

By Jonathan J. Levin

March 17 (Bloomberg) -- Bolivian union leader Alejo Veliz, a Quechua Indian, announced he’ll challenge President Evo Morales in elections planned for December, threatening to cut into Morales’s indigenous base, Los Tiempos said.

Veliz, 51, said yesterday he will promote a unified Bolivia and accused Morales of stoking tensions between urban and rural communities during his three years in office, the Cochabamba- based newspaper said.

The farmers’ union leader plans to run as the candidate for the newly formed People for Liberty and Sovereignty party, or Pulso, which describes itself as center-left, according to Los Tiempos.

Morales, a self-described socialist and the country’s first indigenous president, won the 2005 elections by promising increased rights for the country’s native masses. He says he plans to continue nationalizing natural resources and utilities and expanding state-run businesses.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan J. Levin in La Paz at