In recent years, an increasingly divisive conflict has been the Bolivian Gas War; a dispute over the exploitation of Bolivia's large natural gas reserves in the south of the country.
Strikes and blockades first erupted in September 2003, with several deaths and dozens of injuries in confrontations with the armed forces. President Sánchez de Lozada resigned under pressure from protesters, formally handing over the presidency to his vice-president, Carlos Mesa, in order to preserve the Constitutional order. He fled the country to the United States. Mesa was inaugurated and promised to address the demands of the protesting majority. In the face of mounting protests, he resigned on March 7th 2005, claiming he was unable to continue governing the country. With promises of support, he withdrew his resignation.
In May–June 2005, Mesa again tendered his resignation and in a hastily convened session of the Parliament in Sucre, Mr.Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé - the President of the Supreme Court - became President on the night of June 9th 2005. Political agreements were reached to modify the Constitution, and allow the full renewal of Parliament, simultaneously with a Presidential Election, on December 4th 2005.