- In withdrawing his candidacy, Quiroga recognized the imminence of a MAS victory, and said that everything possible has got to be done to block it.
- Bolivia's interim President Jeanine Áñez, quit the presidential race in September.
- Bolivia is scheduled to elect the President, Vice President, senators, and deputies on October 18.
Former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga withdrew his presidential candidacy Sunday for the country’s general elections, set to be held within a week. Through a message posted on social media networks, Facebook and Twitter, Quiroga stated that it had dawned upon him that he had no chance whatsoever of winning.
Quiroga said in his withdrawal announcement that his candidacy could serve as an advantage to the nation’s former president, Evo Morales, and his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, and make it win in the first round. In withdrawing his candidacy, Quiroga recognized the imminence of a MAS victory, and said that everything possible has got to be done to block it.
Quiroga, who ruled Bolivia between 2001 and 2002, said that by defeating MAS in the first round, the country will avoid a second exposure to electoral agglomerations, save 45 days, and thus start a five-year government in November. This, he said, will reactivate the economy without waiting for a second round, which would waste much of Bolivians’ time.
Quiroga’s dropping out of the race follows that of interim President Jeanine Áñez, who quit the presidential race in September. Áñez also cited the importance of not splitting the vote and allowing MAS an advantage in the polls.
With Quiroga out, six candidates remain in the Bolivian presidential race, including ex-minister Luis Arce, a close ally of former president Morales, and the presidential flag-bearer of the MAS party. Also in the race is ex-President Carlos Mesa, from the Citizens’ Community (CC) party.
Arce appears as the favorite in the pre-election polls, although without a sufficient advantage to achieve victory in the first round. Arce is followed by Mesa, with whom he is likely to compete should there be a runoff. Quiroga, on the other hand, has been performing dismally in the opinion polls, and hasn’t gone beyond 1 to 2%.
The Bolivian Constitution and the electoral law states that, in order to win in the first round, a presidential candidate must obtain 50% plus one of the votes, or at least 40% with an advantage of ten percentage points over the second-most voted.
Bolivia is scheduled to elect the President, Vice President, senators, and deputies on October 18. The fresh elections are a repeat of last year’s poll, in which the country’s former president, Morales, controversially claimed victory in a disputed election that was rejected by the Bolivian opposition, as well as a section of the international community.
Widespread allegations of fraud sparked weeks of violent protests that forced Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, to resign. Morales left the country in exile after the nation’s security forces sided with the demonstrators.
Following Morales’s resignation, Áñez, a conservative senator, declared herself interim president of Bolivia in Congress. Speaking to applause from opposition lawmakers, Áñez said:
“Before the definitive absence of the president and vice president . . . as the president of the Chamber of Senators, I immediately assume the presidency as foreseen in the constitutional order.”