Bolivia. According to COUNTRYAAH, Sucre is the capital of Bolivia which is located in South America. President Evo Morales looked to suffer one of his biggest political defeats in the March 29 regional elections. His party The Movement for Socialism (MAS) won in only four of the country’s nine provinces. Among other things, the party lost both the election to the provincial governor of La Paz and the mayor’s election in the capital La Paz as well as in the traditionally MAS-dominated and politically important suburb of El Alto. In contrast, the party in Cochabamba, Oruro, Pando and Potosí won in the highlands, where the party has its strongest support. In two of the provinces where the governor’s election was decided in a second round on May 3, MAS, with a slight margin, won for the first time in Beni while the opposition, according to expectations, won in Tarija. The opposition’s victory in the eastern province of Santa Cruz was not surprising; MAS has had its greatest resistance for a long time. In the end, MAS controlled six of nine provinces.
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In early November, the Congress, where the ruling party MAS has a majority, approved a referendum on a partial constitutional amendment to allow two consecutive elections for a sitting president. If approved, Morales will be able to stand for a further re-election in 2019. Morales is already the Bolivian president who has been in power for the longest time. According to an opinion poll in early November, he was supported by 66% of voters, while another survey a few weeks earlier showed that just under half were prepared to support the constitutional change. The date of the referendum was set for February 2016. The opposition’s concern that the referendum will not go completely right led the President of the Election Commission to invite several international organizations, including the EU, to monitor it.
Morale’s popularity is based on the successful fight against poverty during his ten years as president. The poor proportion of the population has fallen from 60% to 38% and extreme poverty from 38% to 18%.
Morales, however, was not completely unmoved. Another referendum was held in September on a government proposal to increase the autonomy of the provinces. The proposal was voted down in five provinces, which are also some of the government’s strongest holdings. Morales was also criticized for supporting development projects that the indigenous people oppose, and in July a protest strike was held in Potosí.
Three ministers resign
Contradictions within the government lead to three ministers leaving their posts, just weeks before the October 18 election. Finance Minister Óscar Ortiz says he is resigning because he would otherwise be fired. The reason is that he had a different opinion about the government’s decision to return shares in the electricity company ELFEC, which was nationalized in 2010, to a group of private shareholders. Ortiz believes that such decisions should be submitted to the elected government shortly. The other two ministers who follow Ortiz’s example are Minister of Labor Óscar Mercado and Minister of Development Abel Martínez.
The interim president resigns from the election
Jeanine Áñez, who has been interim president since Evo Morales was forced to resign at the end of 2019, withdraws from the presidential election on October 18. Añez says she is doing it “for the sake of democracy” as she does not want to divide the votes and help give the Socialist Party MAS an advantage. MAS presidential candidate Luis Arce leads in the opinion polls and could take home the victory already in the first round of elections, especially if he is challenged by several candidates. Áñez now ends up in fourth place in the polls.
HRW: “No legal certainty for Morales supporters”
The interim government uses the justice system to persecute supporters of former President Evo Morales, reports Human Rights Watch. According to the report, more than 100 Morale allies have been subjected to restrictions on freedom of expression and overuse of preventive detention. Some have been accused of “terrorism” just because they spoke on the phone with Morales, who himself is in exile. The government denies the allegations.
Morales suspended from the election
A judge upholds the previous decision of the Electoral Tribunal (see 3 February 2020) which means that former President Evo Morales cannot run in the Senate elections. The reason given is that he lives in Argentina. Morales himself claims that he actually lives in Cochabamba but is forced to stay abroad for security reasons. However, he now tweets that he accepts the judge’s decision.