ANSA / Bolivia: In a climate of high tension, go to the polls

(ANSA) – LA PAZ, 17 OTT – Bolivia faces a crucial election day this Sunday, under tension and with many glances from international observers, after an atypical electoral campaign of strong accusations and in which there were hardly any massive antics as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

Five candidates remain in dispute, after three of them ran out of the race (like the current interim president Jeanine Añez) to prevent the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) from prevailing in the first round

The parties that continue in the race are the MAS, which profiles Luis Arce as its candidate for the presidency; Citizen Community (CC), by Carlos Mesa; the Creemos alliance, which nominates Luis Fernando Camacho; Chi Hyun Chung, of the Front for Victory (PFV) and the Bolivian National Action Party (Pan-Bol), of Feliciano Mamani

The MAS, whom all the polls give the front in the intention to vote although it is not clear that it can avoid a ballot, has its top leader, former president Evo Morales, in forced exile in Argentina

According to the Electoral Tribunal, suspected of partiality by the MAS, there are 7.3 million citizens entitled to vote

Arce, considered Morales’s dolphin, came to the end of the campaign as first in the polls, although it is speculated that he will probably be seen in a second with former president Mesa, of the center-right

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michel Bachelet, urged both the Bolivian authorities and the different political and social actors in the country to avoid any action that prevents the holding of peaceful elections this Sunday, rigorously controlled by veedores

So has the European Union and a letter from former presidents (including Lula da Silva and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) and former foreign ministers called for a transparent electoral act and accused the Organization of American States (OAS) of forcing the expulsion of Morales

The risk of street confrontations is latent, even more so after the Añez government said that “it will respond with weapons if someone uses weapons.”

Bolivians will go to the polls this Sunday, after the October 2019 polls were annulled amid complaints of electoral fraud, a police riot, a civic strike and the military “suggestion” to former President Morales to resign

The OAS then argued that there was a “drastic and difficult to justify change in the voting trend.” Under this argument Morales’s departure was forced

Currently, Bolivia officially reports some 139,000 positive cases of Covid-19, although more than 70 percent have already managed to recover, with around 8,350 deaths, but a downward curve of infections and deaths

These data now place the country in a much better situation than months ago, when those images of the dead in the middle of the street and mass graves in front of saturated hospitals and cemeteries were truly dramatic

This situation due to the pandemic led to the postponement of the vote to elect president, vice president, senators and deputies from May 3 to September 6 and finally to this October 18

The campaign was closed without Morales being a candidate for the first time in almost three decades, prevented by the justice system, which the MAS denounces as a ban

“Evo Morales is not going to return to Bolivia even if the MAS wins, he is not going to return to Bolivia, he is afraid of the people, he is afraid of the censorship of the people because Evo Morales has cheated the people, because Today the mask has been removed with the issue of pedophilia, with the issue of corruption, with the issue of drug trafficking, with the same voice that ordered cities to be surrounded to starve them, “said Acting Minister of Government Arturo Murillo

“That man is not going to return to Bolivia. That man is going to continue in his golden exile in his castle of 3 million dollars, speaking to his four, five followers of Chapare on his Kawsachun Coca radio,” he added dismissively. (ANSA)

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