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US News Bolivia: Luis Arce's victory arouses fears among part of the population

16:20  21 october  2020
16:20  21 october  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Manifestation contre les résuultats partiel de la présidentielle bolivienne donnant Luis Arce, candidat du MAS, parti d'Evo Morales, largement gagnant, le 21 octobre à Santa Cruz. © FERNANDO CARTAGENA / AFP Demonstration against the partial results of the Bolivian presidential election giving Luis Arce, MAS candidate, party of Evo Morales, largely winner , October 21 in Santa Cruz.

With more than 84% of the votes counted, the partial official results seem to confirm the clear victory of MAS, the Movement towards Socialism of former President Evo Morales, exiled in Argentina. His political heir, Luis Arce, won the presidential election in the first round with more than 53% of the vote, beating former centrist president Carlos Mesa (29%) and ultra-conservative candidate Luis Fernando Camacho (14%). With the return of the MAS party, some members of civil society are worried about possible retaliatory policies after the popular uprising that pushed the former president into exile a year ago.

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Manuel Alvarez is a member of Conade, the National Committee for the Defense of Democracy, the organization spearheaded last year's uprising against Evo Morales. “Last year, they set fire to the house of Waldo Albarracin, the leader of Conade, and precisely today they released the man who had admitted having burned this house, he denounces to our envoy. special Oriane Verdier . He's a man from MAS. They send a message to the population that there will be a certain amount of impunity here. It could generate violence.

"Cartel of lies"

Another possible target: critical journalists. Under Evo Morales' government, several were prosecuted and suffered from discredit campaigns. Raul Peñaranda, founder of the daily Pagina Siete, experienced these repeated attacks. “At one point, the former minister of the presidency Juan Ramon Quintana presented a report on what they called“ the Cartel of Lies, ”he told RFI. They published our photos. The government also funded a documentary on this "Lying Cartel" broadcast for free in movie theaters. We were afraid to go out into the street, afraid that someone would recognize us, it could be dangerous. I hope Arce's new government will be different. Either way, it will be weaker. The 47% of the votes for other political factions are actually votes against the MAS as well. Between the economic crisis, a possible return of censorship and their disappointed hopes for change, some journalists are already starting to consider leaving the country.

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After Jeanine Añez came to power, journalists were also taken to part by the new government and accused of sedition. Some had to leave Bolivia.

See also : Pressures and repression in Bolivia, journalists and media at the center of a struggle for influence

Demonstration against the victory of Arce

Several hundred people unhappy with the victory of the left candidate Luis Arce in the Bolivian presidential election demonstrated on Tuesday in Santa Cruz, in eastern Bolivia.

Candidate of MAS, the party of former president Evo Morales, Luis Arce won this Sunday in the first round of the presidential election, largely beating his main opponent, the centrist ex-president Carlos Mesa. The latter acknowledged his defeat, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hailed “peaceful elections”, calling on all Bolivian political leaders to work for “national reconciliation”.

Bolivia: Luis Arce in the lead in the presidential election according to forecasts

 Bolivia: Luis Arce in the lead in the presidential election according to forecasts In the presidential election in Bolivia, Luis Arce clearly prevailed against Carlos Mesa according to initial forecasts. The left candidate is a party friend of ex-President Evo Morales, who fled into exile. © UESLEI MARCELINO / REUTERS After the presidential election in Bolivia , initial predictions see the left candidate Luis Arce clearly ahead.

Camacho doubts the results

Luis Arce's triumph surprised many Bolivians as the polls predicted a second round between him and Carlos Mesa. Luis Fernando Camacho, nicknamed the “Bolivian Bolsonaro”, for his part expressed doubts about the result. “We are living in moments of uncertainty created by a very poor administration of the electoral process,” he said on social networks.

The right-wing candidate had been one of the leaders of the massive protest campaign which in 2019 led to the resignation of Evo Morales. The socialist president had just been declared the winner of the presidential election where he had run for a fourth term. But the opposition considered that the election was marked by fraud.

Unrest had then left more than 30 dead and 800 injured, according to the UN. Eventually, Evo Morales, let loose by the police and the army, resigned and left Bolivia. He currently lives in Argentina. After his resignation, an interim power was set up, led by a right-wing senator, Jeanine Añez. She withdrew her candidacy for the presidential election shortly before the election.

To read also: After the victory of Luis Arce, the Bolivians reassured by a "return to normal"

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