Left Menu
Development News Edition

Bolivia votes in crossroads election as socialists eye return

Many said they worried the election result could lead to more violence, especially if Arce's vote count falls short.

Reuters | Sucre | Updated: 18-10-2020 22:38 IST | Created: 18-10-2020 22:14 IST
Bolivia votes in crossroads election as socialists eye return
Representative image Image Credit: Wikimedia

Bolivians lined up to vote on Sunday in a crossroads election many hope can restore stability after a voided ballot last year plunged the Andean nation into political crisis and ended the near 14-year reign of leftist Evo Morales. Leading the race are Luis Arce, the frontrunner from Morales' socialist party who would tip the country back to the left, and main challenger Carlos Mesa, a centrist who served as president in the early 2000s. Polls show Arce ahead but suggest a second round run-off would be needed.

"The vote is set to be the most important since Bolivia returned to democracy in 1982," said Carlos Valverde, a political analyst. A last-minute decision by Bolivia's electoral authority not to release fast-count results on Sunday night, citing issues with the system, has added a layer of tension. Exit polls and partial official results will be published, but it is not clear when the final numbers would be in.

"It's not ideal, but we understand (the decision) perfectly," Mesa told reporters after casting his vote in the morning in the outskirts of the capital, La Paz. Morales said the decision was "highly worrying", while Arce said it was an unwise move that could "generate doubts" about the count.

The vote, carried out in person despite the coronavirus pandemic, will be a test of the left's clout in Latin America. Morales was an iconic and long-lasting figure in a wave of leftist presidents in the region over the last two decades. Bolivia erupted in violence late last year when Morales sought a fourth term in a disputed election that has since been annulled. The violence cost at least 30 lives, sparked food shortages and forced Morales to resign after almost 14 years in power. Since then the country has been led by an unelected interim president, Jeanine Áñez.

On Sunday, residents of La Paz, a city starkly divided by class and race, were voting peacefully but faced long lines meant to avoid overcrowding inside voting locations. Many said they worried the election result could lead to more violence, especially if Arce's vote count falls short. Arce told local media this week the only way his rival could win is "through fraud."

"I hope everything turns out peacefully and that the next government can also provide the solutions that all Bolivians are hoping for," said David Villarroel, voting in La Paz. The socialist stronghold of El Alto, a center of last year's violence, is seen as particularly volatile. The city was built by indigenous Bolivians atop a mountain overlooking La Paz and has grown to dwarf the capital city in population.

The election was originally scheduled to take place in May, but was postponed several times due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.



Uganda COVID-19 response: Was off to a good start but reopening dwindled prospects

Uganda has shown success in using health information to enhance efficiency of disease surveillance, reporting and monitoring. The success, however, has critical challenges confronting it as the country resumes normal activities....

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...


Latest News

FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US health care system

Federal agencies warned that cybercriminals could unleash a wave of data-scrambling extortion attempts against the US health care system, an effort that, if successful, could paralyse hospital information systems just as nationwide cases of...

U.S. appeals court nixes Minnesota's extended ballot counting

A federal appeals court on Thursday said Minnesotas plan to count absentee ballots received after Election Day was illegal, siding with Republicans in the battleground state.In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said the ...

Apple temporarily closes 17 out of 20 French stores amid fresh lockdown measures

Apple Inc will temporarily close 17 out of 20 stores in France starting Oct. 30, as the country goes into a fresh one-month lockdown amid resurgence of coronavirus cases, the companys website showed.Apples Opra store in Paris, Les Quatre Te...

GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares look for rebound following tech earnings

Asian markets looked to continue an upward swing on Friday, after a rebound in U.S. equities and strong corporate earnings set the stage.Australias ASX 200 climbed 0.14 in early trading, while Hong Kongs Hang Seng index futures were up 0.26...

Give Feedback