Bolivia: Crucial Presidential Elections

For Bolivia, the Covid-19 pandemic is only one part of the turmoil that has been taking place in this country over the past year; this annual cycle of turmoil consists of a contentious election showdown, deadly looting, the overthrow of the country’s first indigenous President in a coup as his followers claim, the rise to power of a relatively unknown senator and her failed attempt to hold on to the presidency.

Last Sunday’s Presidential elections, October 18, 2020, gave the country’s citizens a chance for a fresh start as they struggle to shake off the dramatic cost of the passage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The statistics to date give 8400 deaths from Covid-19 out of a population total of 11.6 million.

Bolivia: elections October 18, 2020 by province

The main contenders for the supreme court are former Finance Minister Luis Arce, whose contribution to economic growth is recognised under centrist President Evo Morales, and former President Carlos Meza, a centrist historian and journalist who finished second last year after Morales in the annulled elections.

The parties or alliances contesting the election are the Movement for Socialism (MAS-IPSP), which governed before 2019, Civic Community (CC), the newly formed Creemos (Let’s createWe believe) alliance, the Front for Victory, and the National Action Party (PAN-BOL). 

The official count proceeded slowly, with less than 6.5% of the vote counted on election night. However, independent quick-counts of the vote conducted by polling firms Ciesmori and Mi Voto Cuenta on the morning of 19 October both indicated that Arce had won a majority of the vote, enough to win the election outright without requiring a runoff round. Interim President Áñez confirmed this on Twitter shortly after, with Mesa and Quiroga signaling their acceptance of the preliminary results later that day.

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