Bolivia- It’s All Systems Go As Country Holds Fresh General Elections On Sunday

  • In an opinion poll published by Jubileo Foundation on 16 September, Arce had 40.3% of the vote.
  • In a second round of voting in which the other candidates are most likely to join forces.
  • Of the eight candidacies who had initially expressed their interest to contest for the presidency, only six are still in the race.

 

Bolivia’s fresh general election to elect President, Vice President, Senators and Deputies for the 2021/25 period is scheduled for this Sunday and for once, in several decades of the country’s political history, a key political player in the country’s political scene, former head of state, Evo Morales won’t be a direct participant as he is exiled in Argentina after leaving office in November last year.

MAS presidential candidate Luis Arce Catacora (left) and his running mate David Choquehuanca.

The Evo Morales’ MAS party current presidential candidate is the nation’s former Economy Minister Luis Arce who remains ahead in the country’s local opinion polls.

In an opinion poll published by Jubileo Foundation on 16 September, Arce had 40.3% of the vote while Mesa, who came second behind Morales in the nullified 2019 election, was second, with 26.2% of the vote. civic leader and anti-Morales campaigner Luis Fernando Camacho in third place, with 14.4% while the interim president, Áñez came fourth with 10.6% in the opinion poll.

Morales, the former Bolivian President has remained as the party’s campaign director albeit virtually from Argentina where he is currently exiled. 

The strength of MAS can be explained by the country’s management of almost 14 years, in which it achieved several economic successes.

However, the decline in this electoral support ensued after Morales tried to go against the constitution and vie for a fourth term in the 2019 elections, based on a decision by the Constitutional Court in his favor, despite the referendum that, in 2016 . This aimed at scrapping presidential term limits but was rejected by a majority of the Bolivians who voted against lifting presidential term limits.

Last year, the MAS party suffered “extreme” and “adverse” challenges, with almost “half of its leaders persecuted, exiled and imprisoned”, under the governance of interim President, Jeanine Áñez.

Despite the MAS having 40% of voting intentions ahead of Sunday’s polls, political analysts opine that it is not enough to win the elections outright and the country is likely to go to a second round of voting in which the other candidates are most likely to join forces and sent the Morales party to political oblivion. As per the Bolivian electoral law, to win outright, a candidate must garner at least 40 percent of the votes in the first round, and a 10-point lead over the runners up.

“A second round would pit the MAS against Carlos Mesa, as Fernando Camacho would withdraw,” opined John Crabtree, co-author of the book Bolivia: Processes of Change. “Under those circumstances, Carlos Mesa would be the narrow victor,” Crabtree asserted.

Opposition candidate Carlos Mesa with his wife Elvira Salinas, waves to supporters after Sunday’s vote. Mesa says preliminary results show there will be a run-off in December.

Of the eight candidacies who had initially expressed their interest to contest for the presidency, only six are still in the race after the resignations of Áñez , of the Juntos alliance, and of ex-President Jorge ” Tuto ” Quiroga , to support Carlos Mesa, of the Citizen Community, who, according to the opinion polls, has a better chance of defeating the MAS candidate.

Morales won’t be a participant in an electoral process in Bolivia for the first time since 1989, when he first ran for office as a deputy but lost.

In the forthcoming poll, the former Bolivian President tried to run for a senatorial position but the National Elections Commission and the Constitutional Court barred him on grounds that he didn’t meet one of the essential requirements, that of residing in Bolivia.

Morales has been residing in Argentina since he was forced to resign as president in November 2019 following his controversial re-election that sparked countrywide demos in protest.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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