Bolivia's Morales sworn in to third term

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LA PAZ. KAZINFORM - Bolivia's President Evo Morales took the oath of office Thursday, inaugurating his third five-year term (2015-2020) by taking stock of his government's achievements and shortfalls.

At the ceremony at the Legislative Assembly in La Paz, the longest-serving Bolivian leader in modern history, said public- sector investment has grown nearly 800 percent between 2006 and 2014, under his leadership, compared to an increase of just 15 percent during the previous eight years.

"Government investment from 1997 to 2005 (registered) a 15- percent increase, and during our government (it registered) an increase of 795 percent," Morales told those gathered, including the presidents of Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela, according to the Bolivian News Agency (ABI).

"In a short time, we have changed the social and economic situation of the country," said Morales, adding there was still much to do "to expand and consolidate several policies."

Bolivia's gross domestic product (GDP) has more than tripled over the same period, going from 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2005 to 34 billion dollars in 2014, said Morales.

Major economic indicators have improved during the period, including per capita GDP going from 1,000 to 3,000 dollars, and the country's international reserves growing in the past decade to over 15 billion dollars, or 45 percent of GDP.

"The people know we work hard, they know that politics is no longer a business in Bolivia, but a service to the people," said Morales.

The president also touched on areas where the government needs to make more headway, such as infrastructure building, health and education.

Basic services like potable water and sewage meet the needs of less than half (44.7 percent) of the population, he said, meaning Bolivia has failed to achieve one of the United Nations Millennium Goals by the 2015 deadline. Morales said he was "unsatisfied with what has been done so far " to expand health services, announcing the construction of four hospitals, in the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and Tarija.

He also pledged to work to improve access to education for secondary-school and primary-school students.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, who has been Morales' running mate since the beginning, was also sworn in. The inauguration was attended by seven heads of state, five vice presidents and representatives from more than 40 countries, including the United States, which sent a high-level delegation, Xinhua informs.

On Wednesday, Morales, an Aymara Indian, was sworn in as the country's leader in an open-air indigenous ceremony that took place at Tiwanaku, an archaeological site dating from pre-Incan times.

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