Evo Morales’ party has claimed victory in Bolivia’s presidential election. Exit polls give the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) party over 50% of the vote.
To win in the first round, a candidate needs more than 50% of the vote, or 40% with a lead of at least 10 percentage points over the second-placed candidate.
The election was marked by tension after Morales was deposed in a US-backed coup in November 2019. Electoral monitors reported threats and harassment from Bolivian security forces.
With a private quick count of sampled polling stations favouring MAS candidate Luis Arce by a wide margin, even unelected interim president Jeanine Áñez recognised that the socialist movement looked set to return to power.
“I congratulate the winners and I ask them to govern thinking in Bolivia and in our democracy,” Áñez said on Twitter.
“We’ve recovered our democracy,” Morales said in brief remarks from exile in Argentina. “Lucho [Arce] will be our president.”
“I think the Bolivian people want to retake the path we were on,” Arce declared around midnight, surrounded by a small group of supporters.
As Morales’ economy minister, Arce oversaw a surge in growth and reduction in poverty for more than a decade. But he would face an uphill battle to jumpstart growth this time. Though unelected, the Áñez regime accepted a $327mn loan from the IMF, to which austerity conditions will certainly be attached.
Nonetheless, it would seem that Bolivia’s democracy has, for now, been restored.
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop