Bolivia lives this Sunday night a tense calm awaiting the results of the general elections and without knowing any exit poll, after a day that took place in peace, with “civility” and a high voter turnout.
After elections under strict security measures to avoid incidents and following the health protocols for the covid-19 pandemic, Bolivians await at home with uncertainty the announcement of the electoral body on the result of the elections, after the exit polls were suspended after more than six hours of the closing of the voting centers.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) had already announced that it was dispensing with the Preliminary Results Dissemination system (Direpre), to give priority to the “certainty” of the result over the “impatience” of knowing the count as soon as possible.
Precisely in the elections a year ago, the Preliminary Results Transmission System (TREP), different from Direpre, was questioned when it remained almost a day without issuing data and suddenly resumed with a result in favor of then-President Evo Morales.
Requests for prudence
The interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, asked citizens and political parties to have “patience” and “maturity” to await the official results of the general elections.
In a televised message, accompanied by several of her acting ministers and commanders of the Armed Forces and Police, she urged “patience” to wait for the results without generating violent events.
He also thanked the citizens, the electoral authorities and the security forces for helping to make this day “a peaceful and democratic holiday.”
In a press conference in the evening, the president of the TSE, Salvador Romero, stressed that the voting day ended in a “peaceful and participatory” manner, which was what the country needed “to strengthen its democracy.”
After the closing of the polling stations, the authorities deployed a military and police operation throughout the country to guarantee security until the official results are known.
Bolivians still have in their memory the violent social outbreak that was registered after the controversial elections of 2019, which triggered the resignation of Evo Morales to the Presidency, on November 10 denouncing that he was forced by a coup d’état, and left the country with a power vacuum, until Jeanine Áñez the Government took over on an interim basis two days later.
A situation that led hundreds of Bolivians to stock up on food and fuel a few days ago in fear of a new crisis, but this situation was quickly dispelled by the same behavior of the voters.
The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) He expressed his appreciation to the “Bolivian people for their civic attitude in coming massively and peacefully to exercise their right to vote.”
“In this context in which the computation is progressing slowly, we reiterate our call for both the citizens and the different political actors to wait patiently for the official data. The next few days will be crucial for the future of Bolivia,” he said.
In the same vein, the delegation of the European Union (EU) congratulated “the Bolivian people for having participated in a peaceful and participatory electoral day” and he called for calm to be preserved while the results are known, to avoid distorting the electoral process.
On the contrary, Morales from Argentina expressed his suspicions about “the lifting of the Direpre a few hours before the day of the elections” and then that “the polling companies refuse to publish the results at the exit.”
“They are hiding the great triumph of the people represented by the MAS,” he warned on Twitter, denouncing the “strange and worrying” that a delay that something “wants to hide.”
Prudence among candidates
Candidates for the Presidency They also acted prudently and followed the development of the day at their campaign headquarters, after casting their respective votes in the morning.
On the outskirts of the MAS headquarters in the city of La Paz, silence reigned, with its leadership gathered inside while it followed the progress of the scrutiny and without being seen before the close to eighty journalists who were waiting for a pronouncement from their candidate. .
The giant screens, lThe spotlights and speakers installed for what was expected to be a party of Bolivian socialism were off, in keeping with the icy atmosphere of the street, which had been cut off by the police, without a trace of any supporter of Evo Morales’ party in the vicinity.
In the morning hours, former Minister Arce was confident that his party will return to power in Bolivia with a victory at the polls, compared to others he accused of having taken him “by arms.”
Former President Mesa, for his part, said that Bolivia is experiencing a “fundamental moment” to be able to get out of the crisis and indicated that they would not make any pronouncement until they had an official announcement.
While the former civic leader Luis Fernando Camacho, from Creemos, called from the city of Santa Cruz for transparency and “consolidating” the democratic process.
Crowds and long lines
Since the day started in the nine departments of the country, with some delays in the opening of some tables, long lines were reported in the voting precincts for several hours, mainly due to the biosecurity measures due to the pandemic, which made the procedure outside a little slower.
After nine hours, the tables closed at 5:00 p.m. local time (9:00 p.m. GMT) and the counting of the votes began, but nevertheless the TSE determined that only those voting centers in which there were still citizens in line would remain open, mainly in places where there was a massive presence of voters.
Some 7.3 million Bolivians were entitled to vote in the country, where voting is mandatory, to decide between five candidates for president, vice president, senators and deputies.