Wednesday, October 28

Bolivia goes to the polls: the choice of distrust


IIn the campaign bar of the “Movement for Socialism” (MAS) there was a coming and going on Friday and Saturday. Official and unofficial delegations who traveled to Bolivia to watch the elections this Sunday paid a visit to Luis Arce. Arce, the former economics minister of long-term president Evo Morales, is to recapture the presidency that the MAS saw torn from the election a year ago and the later forced resignation of Morales. In the MAS one speaks of a coup to this day. Many claim that a second one is now in progress. They distrust the transitional government of Jeanine Añez, which is responsible for organizing the elections. Not a few believe that they want to prevent Arce from winning and the MAS from returning to power at all costs.

Tjerk Brühwiller

A newly formed electoral authority and the Supreme Electoral Court have been working towards the elections for months. A new system for the quick counting, which should provide the first provisional results on Sunday evening, was introduced. But on the Saturday evening before the election, the Supreme Electoral Court announced that the system would not be used. There were errors in the last test, which is why there are doubts about the reliability. Therefore, only the results of the official count would be informed. On Sunday evening, the Bolivians do not yet know how the election turned out. Post-election polls should provide a clue, but not a certainty.

The quick count had failed a year ago. It had inexplicably been stopped on election night, when the results were not yet clear. Morales, who had run again against an earlier referendum, nevertheless already declared himself the winner. When the system was switched on again a day later, Morales was actually a close winner. But his opponents’ suspicions that the election had been manipulated appeared to have been confirmed. The Organization of American States (OAS), which had followed the election with an observer mission, later found serious irregularities, but without providing any concrete evidence of electoral fraud. The already seething mood in the country turned completely, until the security forces turned against Morales.

United Nations: “The election will be transparent”

Now the signs are reversed. The MAS had repeatedly voiced its concerns about the new rapid counting system in recent weeks. Some missions from abroad, notably the unofficial and left-wing party-led delegations, are in the same line. In addition to the lack of transparency, the fact that the army is used for certain logistical tasks such as the transport of ballot papers and urns, which is unusual, is also criticized. The MAS has announced that it will transmit the results from the polling stations independently in order to make its own calculation. Basically, this is not unusual. Usually these internal counts are not published.


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