FACTBOX-Leading candidates in Bolivia election
Oct 29 (Reuters) - Bolivians will vote in presidential and congressional elections on Dec. 6 with leftist President Evo Morales expected to be re-elected and continue his push to expand the state's role in the economy. [ID:nN29318798]
Here are the campaign platforms of the three leading presidential candidates in the economically poor but resource-rich Andean nation:
Morales has nationalized natural gas, mining and telecommunications companies in his first term and pledges to give the state more control over the economy and launch state-run cement, paper and dairy companies. He would also invest heavily to increase natural gas output and build an industry to refine natural gas into other by-products.
The candidate for the Movement Toward Socialism party plans to develop a large-scale lithium industry as Bolivia has the largest lithium deposits in the world. He also vows to build hydroelectric dams that would allow Bolivia to export power.
Morales says he will keep up government spending on schools, hospitals and roads. He has also pledged to keep up popular social programs, including cash handouts to encourage parents to keep children in school and to pensioners.
The candidate for the right-wing Plan for Progress party says he would give a one-off $1,000 cash subsidy to some 1 million families if elected. A former governor of the central Cochabamba region, he has also pledged to give investors more legal security to attract foreign companies to Bolivia.
Reyes would release his imprisoned running mate, former governor Leopoldo Fernandez, who is awaiting trial on charges linked to the deaths of at least 10 Morales supporters during violent anti-government protests in 2008.
A former army captain, Reyes has vowed to give the armed forces a greater role in domestic security to help battle crime. He says he would work to lower unemployment and plans to continue Morales' subsidy programs for the poor.
SAMUEL DORIA MEDINA
The candidate for the center-right National Unity party says he will diversify Bolivia's economy from its dependence on natural gas and mineral exports to develop a large-scale organic food industry and encourage investment in tourism.
The wealthy cement businessman has vowed to invest $175 million in five years to modernize the education system, overhauling some 5,000 schools, retraining teachers and opening nine universities.
He has pledged to ease the political divide between the predominantly-indigenous Andean west and the eastern lowlands where most people do not follow Indian customs. (Reporting by Eduardo Garcia in La Paz; Editing by Kieran Murray)
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