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Bolivians celebrate a victory

SHARE Bolivians celebrate a victory

Aizar Raldes, Getty Images

Thousands of Bolivians in Santa Cruz celebrate victory Sunday in a referendum on granting greater regional autonomy. Supporters of autonomy triumphed in four of Bolivia's nine provinces — Santa Cruz, Tarija, Pando and Beni, which are rich in natural resources. Also, President Evo Morales' ambitious plans to empower Bolivia's indigenous majority and boost state control over the economy suffered a setback Sunday when his party failed to win control of an assembly that will rewrite the constitution, unofficial preliminary results showed. Sunday's vote was a crucial test for Morales, an Aymara Indian elected in December on promises to wrest political control of South America's poorest nation from a corrupt political class and more evenly distribute the nation's wealth.