Bolivia's four million voters have gone to the polls to cast ballots in a referendum deciding whether President Evo Morales and eight of the country's nine governors should stay in office.

Voting is compulsory under threat of a 150-boliviano (€14) fine, a large sum in Latin America's poorest nation.

The recall plebiscite was called by Mr Morales in an attempt to subdue opposition governors who are defying his leftwing reforms and demanding autonomy from his government.

A stalemate between the president and six of the governors has plunged Bolivia into crisis and stymied some of Mr Morales's efforts to turn it into a socialist state modelled on that of Venezuela.

Pre-poll surveys suggest President Morales will be reconfirmed in his post, thanks to massive support among the indigenous majority from which he hails and which makes up 60% of Bolivia's 10m strong population.

Most of his political enemies are also expected to ride high support in their states -- in the wealthier, more conservative east -- to remain in their gubernatorial chairs.

One or two governors, though, face the possibility of being recalled.