Bolivia elects president amid growing tension

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Bolivia chooses this Sunday President and he renews his Parliament in the midst of an indisputable political enmity between the two blocks that are vying for power. He Movement to Socialism (MAS), the party of the former president Evo Morales, embraces the illusion of prevailing in the first round of the hand of his candidate and former Minister of Economy of the Government overthrown in 2019, Luis Arce. This hypothetical electoral outcome has led the de facto government that heads Jeanine Áñez to abandon all kinds of neutrality. Without dissimulation he expresses his manifest rejection of the return of the MAS to executive functions.

To win in the first round, the winner must get at least 40% of the votes and a distance of 10 points from his immediate rival. The last poll allowed days ago by the electoral authorities showed that Arce would reach 42.2% of the valid votes. The former interim president Carlos Mesa (2003-05), champion of the center-right alliance Citizen Community (CC), would reap 33.1%. According to the poll, there would be a second round, on November 9, by a very slim margin.

However, the outcome may be different due to several factors not taken into account by the interviewers. One of them is the rural vote, generally favorable to Morales. The more than 300,000 Bolivians living abroad they can also be decisive. Half of them reside in Argentina, where the dismissed president has taken refuge. They represent almost 2% of the national census and are mostly inclined towards the MAS. But, in addition, there are 12% undecided. Some analysts believe that some of them have avoided reporting their preferences for Arce for fear of retaliation.

The Mesa limit

Mesa has not tired of warning against the return of forces that he has associated with the absolute evil. He and Morales have a history of bitterness that dates back to 2005, when the then provisional head of state had to leave the Quemado Palace amid the protests led by the still leader of the coca growers. Mesa is presented as the only one capable of stopping the return of MAS. Áñez and the conservative Jorge Quiroga got out of the electoral race to avoid the dispersion of the anti-Morales front. However, Mesa has not been able to bring together all those forces that would guarantee his victory in the second round.

The far-right Luis Fernando Camacho, the Santa Cruz leader who became one of the architects of the overthrow of Morales in 2019, is in third place in the polls with 16.7% adherence. But the ‘Macho Camacho’ for the moment has not given up competing and does not seem willing to give up his electoral wealth. Senator Edwin Rodríguez has wondered if he is not playing the game with MAS.

Again the OAS

When in doubt, the de facto authorities have begun to stir up the ghost of a new electoral fraud. The Minister of Government, Arturo Murillo, traveled to Washington to express that fear to the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Uruguayan Luis Almagro.

Last year, an OAS mission questioned the provisional scrutiny that gave Morales the victory in the first round. That questioning, which is still the subject of controversy, opened the door to the coup. “We committed ourselves to maximum efforts to strengthen the electoral mission of the OAS in Bolivia and ensure the will of the people,” Almagro said. “The OAS, which invented an alleged fraud in the last Bolivian elections to ignore Evo’s victory, now returns, with the same president of the delegation, to dirty the elections if Arce and David Choquehuanca win,” the former Colombian president has warned. , Ernesto samper.

The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Shock, asked on Friday that the preferences of the seven million people called to the polls be respected. “We have to learn to live in a democracy and accept the results as we accepted the 5-0 from Brazil to Bolivia (during the first match of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers) “.

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