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Canada Bolivians elect their president one year after the resignation of Morales

07:50  18 october  2020
07:50  18 october  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Bolivian President Evo Morales resigns amid election protests. Tensions first flared on the night of the presidential election after the results count was inexplicably stopped for 24 hours. The final result gave Mr Morales slightly more than the 10-percentage-point lead he needed to win outright in

There have been clashes in Bolivia after the resignation of President Evo Morales following a disputed election . Mr Morales , 60, accused the police of targeting peaceful protesters and urged Bolivians to resist the "dark Others have been celebrating his departure after nearly 14 years .

Préparation du matériel électoral à La Paz, le 16 octobre 2020 © Luis GANDARILLAS Preparation of electoral material in La Paz, October 16, 2020

Almost a year after the resignation of former socialist leader Evo Morales, Bolivians are called back to the polls on Sunday to elect their president in a highly polarized country, where many calls have been made to avoid a new political crisis.

For the first time in 20 years, Evo Morales (2006-2019), emblematic leader of the South American left, is not a candidate for the presidency. On November 10, 2019, he resigned in the midst of a political crisis, accused of fraud by the opposition, while he was running for a fourth term.

Les candidats à la présidentielle bolivienne Fenando Camacho (à gauche), Carlos Mesa (centre) et Luis Arce © Aizar RALDES The Bolivian presidential candidates Fenando Camacho (left), Carlos Mesa (center) and Luis Arce

His dolphin, his former Minister of the Economy, Luis Arce, 57, candidate for the Movement towards the Socialism (MAS), and its main rival, ex-president Carlos Mesa, 67, are the favorites among six candidates.

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Then, soon after Bolivia announced its first confirmed case of the coronavirus March 10, the elections were put on indefinite hold. The elections have arrived. Once again, former president Carlos Mesa is facing off against a member of the MAS party: Luis Arce, Morales ' former finance minister and

Bolivia ’s socialists are seeking to retake power in elections this Sunday a year after their leader Evo Morales was ousted and driven into exile. Under Bolivian election rules, a candidate can win in the first round with just 40% of the vote, provided there’s a margin of more than ten percentage points

According to the latest polls, Mr. Arce, considered to be the father of the "Bolivian (economic) miracle", tops the vote in the first round, but should not escape a second round, scheduled for November 29.

Some 7.3 million Bolivians are called upon to elect their president, but also their vice-president, and to renew the entire Parliament, currently dominated by the MAS. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign mainly took place online and on social media.

Principales informations sur les deux favoris à la présidentielle du 18 octobre en Bolivie : le dauphin d'Evo Morales, Luis Arce, et l'ex-président centriste Carlos Mesa © Gustavo IZUS Main information on the two favorites in the presidential election of October 18 in Bolivia: the dolphin of Evo Morales, Luis Arce, and the centrist ex-president Carlos Mesa

The offices of your will open at 8 a.m. local (12 p.m. GMT) and will close at 5:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. GMT). The Electoral Tribunal said on Saturday that, to avoid generating uncertainties and tensions, no preliminary results will be disclosed: "we will not have the official and final result on Sunday evening. We will give ourselves a few more hours, and it is important that the citizens show patience because the result will be reliable, although a little slower, “justified its president, Salvador Romero.

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Morales resigned on Sunday after a tumultuous 48 hours in which police officers mutinied, the OAS said it Bolivia ’s constitutional court has said that after the resignations of Morales , his deputy and the “She doesn’t represent us.” Others swore their enduring loyalty to Morales , the country’s first

Bolivia 's President Evo Morales has resigned , shortly after the country's military urged him to do so. Shortly before Morales announced his resignation , Bolivian TV channels aired footage of what they say After the contested October elections there were rival rallies of Morales ' opponents and

Les forces de sécurité boliviennes montent la garde pendant le chargement d'un camion de matériel électoral à La Paz, le 16 octobre 2020 © Luis GANDARILLAS The Bolivian security forces stand guard during the loading of a truck of electoral materials in La Paz, October 16, 2020

"These elections open a new cycle for the political history of the country, the end of the cycle of government of Evo Morales and the political crisis. We hope that a process of consolidation of institutions will begin, "political scientist Carlos Cordero of the University Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) told AFP.


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This election will put an end to the interim government, in place since the resignation of Mr. Morales, and led by the conservative Jeanine Áñez, who finally withdrew her candidacy in the face of strong criticism on its management of the pandemic which killed more than 8,400 people in this country of 11 million inhabitants.

- "Pacific" -

After a tense campaign, many Bolivians fear a repeat of the violence which left 36 dead. In recent days, they have been rushed into shops to stock up on food, gas bottles and gasoline.

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Bolivia 's President Evo Morales has said he will call a new election after international monitors questioned the validity of his victory last month. The Organization of American States (OAS), which monitored the elections , found "clear manipulation" and called for the result to be annulled.

Morales and other senior figures from his Movement for Socialism (Mas) resigned and fled, and Áñez – as second vice- president of the senate – assumed interim rule pledging to “rebuild democracy”. Six months on, even critics of Morales argue that the 52- year -old has instead deepened divisions in the

"Obviously, there will be unrest (...) we hope it will not last too long," Clara Quiltaba, 49, told AFP in the town of El Alto, the historic stronghold of MAS .

Renata Zapata, 24, wants to be more optimistic: she says she hopes the vote will take place peacefully "because we do not want to relive what happened last year, it was terrible".

According to Guery Chuquimia, anthropologist at UMSA, "we are in another scenario, it is possible that there is agitation, but I doubt that it is of the same magnitude".

The Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union, the Union of Electoral Organizations of America (UNIORE) and the Carter Foundation have dispatched observers.

Calls for calm have also increased. The UN, the EU and the Catholic Church called for a “peaceful” vote and respect for the results.

To ensure the transparency of the ballot, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has been completely renewed. Its president, Salvador Romero, promised "technical rigor, political impartiality and transparency" in the counting of votes.

The Constitution declares winner in the first round the candidate who obtains the absolute majority or 40% of the votes with an advantage of 10 points on the second. Otherwise a second round takes place.

In 2019, the count was suspended for more than 20 hours. When he resumed Evo Morales was declared the winner in the first round. A few days later, the OAS denounced in its report manipulation of the ballot.

Partisans and detractors of the MAS had mobilized in the streets of several towns in the country, with violent clashes. Dropped by the police and the army, Evo Morales finally resigned, before fleeing to Mexico and then to Argentina.

val-jb / roc

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