December 6, 1999
Ruling coalition shows strength in local Bolivia elections

                  LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- Bolivia's ruling coalition made a strong showing in
                  nationwide municipal elections, the electoral court said as official returns
                  from most of the country filtered in Monday.

                  Candidates representing parties aligned with President Hugo Banzer's ruling
                  coalition will control at least five out the nine department capitals, possibly
                  including the federal capital La Paz, the electoral court said.

                  At least three million Bolivians voted Sunday for city council and mayoral
                  candidates, many of whom campaigned on an anti-corruption platform.

                  Voters in 314 municipalities chose among 25,000 candidates. Results from
                  the election are actual vote counts from individual voting districts.

                  The opposition Revolutionary Nationalist Movement won the largest number
                  of council seats and votes as a single party, but the ruling coalition made up
                  of four parties received more votes as a whole.

                  "As a result of this elections we will have greater efficiency and transparency
                  in our municipalities," said Banzer in a nationwide address shortly after the
                  polls opened.

                  The most closely watched local election is the race for mayor of La Paz,
                  where 15 candidates competed for the seat.

                  Juan del Granado, a human rights lawyer and founder of the Movement
                  Without Fear, a new party, won 21 percent of the vote in La Paz. Ronnie
                  MacLean, a former Harvard Professor and four-time mayor from Banzer's
                  Nationalist Democratic Action party, took 18 percent.

                  Del Granado and MacLean must put together a coalition to get the six
                  council seats needed to be elected mayor.

                  Since democracy returned to this country of 8 million in 1982, campaigns
                  and elections have been largely peaceful.

                    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.