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World Bolivians hope to restore political stability in Sunday presidential election

14:05  18 october  2020
14:05  18 october  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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Bolivia has been in turmoil since last year’s presidential election . Morales, accused of having Zegada thinks Bolivia could experience a prolonged political instability not seen since the 1990s. Many Bolivians are appalled by interim president Jeanine Anez and her allies, who have become

Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Sunday he would resign after the military called on him to step down and allies tumbled away amid a fierce "We suggest the President of the State renounce his presidential mandate, allowing peace to be restored and the stability maintained for the good of our

By Marcelo Rochabrun

a person with graffiti on the side of the road: Women walk past a wall with a graffiti depicting former Bolivian President Evo Morales, before general elections in La Paz © Reuters/UESLEI MARCELINO Women walk past a wall with a graffiti depicting former Bolivian President Evo Morales, before general elections in La Paz

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivians head to the polls on Sunday in an election many hope can restore stability to an Andean country that was plunged into turmoil after a fraught and eventually voided vote last year, leaving the country in the hands of an interim president.

a man wearing glasses: Closing campaign rally of the Movement to Socialism party (MAS) in El Alto © Reuters/DAVID MERCADO Closing campaign rally of the Movement to Socialism party (MAS) in El Alto

The frontrunners are Luis Arce, who champions a return to the socialist and pro-indigenous policies of former President Evo Morales, and Carlos Mesa, a centrist who served as president in the early 2000s. Polls show Arce ahead, but not enough to avoid a runoff which would take place in late November.

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Bolivia ’s military chief on Sunday called on President Evo Morales to resign, dealing what was likely a fatal blow to his efforts to cling to power in the face of widespread unrest over last month’s fraud-marred presidential elections . The commander of Bolivia ’s armed forces, Gen.

Bolivia 's President Evo Morales agreed to step down after the military, political rivals, mutinous Kaliman said on national television Sunday that the military's chiefs wanted Morales gone to restore Morales (pictured earlier in the day announcing there would be a new presidential election ) faced

Carlos Mesa wearing a suit and tie: Presidential candidate Carlos Mesa of the Citizen Community alliance (CC) addresses a news conference in La Paz © Reuters/DAVID MERCADO Presidential candidate Carlos Mesa of the Citizen Community alliance (CC) addresses a news conference in La Paz

There are also several other centrist and conservative candidates on the ballot.

"The vote is set to be the most important since Bolivia returned to democracy in 1982," said Carlos Valverde, a political analyst.

The election will be a test of the left's clout in Latin America, as Morales was a key figure in a wave of leftist presidents in the region over the last decade.

Bolivia erupted in violence late last year when Morales sought a fourth term in a disputed election which has since been annulled. The violence cost at least 30 lives, sparked food shortages and forced Morales to resign after almost 14 years in power.

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2019 presidential election in Bolivia . that substantial shortcomings in Sunday ’s presidential and legislative elections in Bolivia , notably We also agree that the best option would be to hold a second round to restore trust in the process and to fully ensure the democratic choice of the Bolivian people.

The Bolivian president ’s grip on power grew shakier on Saturday as police units in major cities flipped their allegiance and joined anti-government demonstrations, key allies resigned and protesters forced the state broadcaster to halt news programming.

On Saturday, La Paz, a city starkly divided by class and race, appeared calm with little partisan activity. But residents across town acknowledged they are worried that the result of Sunday's vote could spark more violence, especially if Arce's vote count falls short.

Arce told local media this week that the only way his rival could win is "through fraud."

Freddy Mamami, a member of Arce's Movement Toward Socialism party who is running for Congress, told Reuters: "If the electoral verdict is in line with the objective reality we see, nothing will happen."

The socialist stronghold of El Alto, a center of last year's violence, is seen as particularly volatile. The city was built by indigenous Bolivians atop a mountain overlooking La Paz and has grown to dwarf the capital city in population.

The election was originally scheduled to take place in May, but was postponed several times due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Polls are set to open at 8 a.m. local time (noon GMT), and voting will be entirely in person.

On Saturday night, Bolivia's electoral board announced it would not release preliminary results that were expected on Sunday evening. It is unclear when the first official results will be available.

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun in La Paz; Additional reporting by Daniel Ramos; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

'A lot of chaos': Trump's rhetoric, a global pandemic and a tsunami of lawsuits complicate 2020 election .
Voters should accept that election results may not be known on Election Night and that does not indicate fraud, experts say.Both candidates declared victory, and the dispute dragged on for months. Threats of a civil war loomed. Voter fraud and intimidation ran rampant. Congress was forced to create an electoral commission that would decide the presidency. Voting along party lines, it declared Hayes the winner by just one electoral vote.

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