- - Monday, October 17, 2011

BOLIVIA

Voters rebuke Morales in judicial ballot

LA PAZ — Most Bolivians who voted in Sunday’s election to choose the country’s top judges cast invalid ballots in what could be a stinging rebuke for President Evo Morales, according to unofficial partial results.

If the results hold, it would the first electoral defeat for the leftist president in nearly six years in office.

Official results were not expected for at least five days in the vote for 56 judgeships on Bolivia’s top four tribunals, including its supreme and constitutional courts.

An unofficial count by the Ipsos, Opinion and Mercado polling firm found 61 percent of voters cast ballots that were either null or blank.

Opposition leaders had called on voters to cast invalid ballots to protest what they considered a power grab.

They contended that the election would erode the independence of the judiciary and strengthen Mr. Morales because the 114 candidates were chosen by a Congress dominated by his governing MAS movement.

CANADA

Groups warn trade pact is a Trojan horse

OTTAWA — About 25 Canadian and European civil groups rolled a Trojan horse up to Canada’s Parliament building on Monday to protest a proposed trade pact with the European Union as a new round of negotiations kicked off.

“Just like the Trojan horse behind me, this trade deal carries huge threats,” warned Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, flanked by the 14-foot-high wooden horse.

Canadians and Europeans have been kept in the dark during the negotiations about “what’s being given away,” she said, decrying a lack of public disclosure of the negotiations, which are entering their ninth round.

The 27-nation EU is Canada’s second-largest trade partner after the United States. Bilateral exports and imports total about $98.5 billion annually.

COLOMBIA

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