Source Pravda.Ru

Carlos Mesa offered his resignation from the post

Bolivian President &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/368/15129_mesa.html ' target=_blank> Carlos Mesa has resigned amid angry street protests demanding nationalization of the country's natural gas sector.

"It is my responsibility to say that this is as far as I can go," the president said on national television.

"For that reason my decision is to offer my resignation from my post as president of the republic."

Mesa served as president for 20 months, after his predecessor, &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2003/02/14/43382.html ' target=_blank>Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, was pushed from office, also by demonstrations over Bolivia's gas reserves, tells the Forbes.

If Mr Mesa leaves office, he will be the second leader in the troubled Andean region to be pushed out in less than three months, following the ousting of Lucio Gutiйrrez as president of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/368/15365_ecuador.html ' target=_blank>Ecuador in April.

Many observers criticised Mr Mesa’s inactivity for the recent unrest. Protests have been mounting since last month when he refused to comment on a controversial hydrocarbons bill that had angered international energy companies, instead allowing Congress to sign the legislation into law.

That earned him the enmity of the legislature, whose leaders condemned Mr Mesa for washing his hands of the debate. It also provoked exasperation among the middle class, who had previously backed Mr Mesa about the apparent lack of effective government.

Since the law was passed, Bolivia’s radical left-wing social movements have blocked roads across the country and held violent protests in the capital, demanding the nationalization of the country’s gas reserves and the convening of an assembly to rewrite the country’s constitution. On Monday, as the demonstrations raged in the centre of La Paz, Mr Mesa was evacuated from the presidential palace to a secret location.