Bolivia: The socialist’s victory assures Morales’s return to the country

With 52,4% of the voters, the political organization called Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) was consecrated victorious in Bolivia. Luis Arce is the leader and the new president elected in the very early hours of this Monday, October 19th.

The predecessor president Hugo Morales, who had been the President of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019, fled from Bolivia during a huge social protest that left 36 dead and hundreds wounded. Morales was taking refuge in Argentina under the power of his friend socialist President Arberto Fernandez, after the November 10 the population went against his system and the big crisis they were facing.

Luis Arce said publicly the same day he was elected President: “We have recovered democracy,” and “We promise to respond to our pledge to work and bring our program to fruition. We are going to govern for all Bolivians and construct a government of national unity.”

The Arce’s strategy was to seem totally apart from Morales, But the polarizing former president nevertheless seemed to portray the election as a vindication. And Morales said publicly from Buenos Aires “Bolivia is an example to the world. Very soon our country will begin a new stage of great challenges. We must put aside differences and sectoral and regional interests to achieve a great national agreement.”

Also, Morales said he had even received a call from Argentine Pope Francis on Monday. “I felt that I was not alone,” he said.

Morales dismissed the accusations on Monday, saying they were “part of a dirty war” being waged against him.

Arce’s victory will bring to an end the year-long interim presidency of conservative Jeanine Anez, who withdrew from the race a month ago as criticism rose of her handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has left more than 8,400 people dead and infected 130,000.

The opposite party

The Former Bolivian president Carlos Mesa, presidential candidate of the Citizen Community party said Arce’s 20-point margin of victory was “very forceful and very clear.”

Analysts say Mesa, running second in the polls, would become the favourite in the second round of voting next month, assuming the opposition to the socialists coalesced around him. Camacho trailed both men in the polls by significant margins.

Carla Nina Martínez, a 30-year-old nurse voting in a rural area just south of La Paz, described herself as a longtime supporter of the left. But she said she was changing her vote this year to support Mesa. “I value some things that President Evo Morales did. Everything was going very well,” she said. “But in the end, as always, politics end up being corrupt.”

During Morales’s three terms, the socialists were credited with a successful drive to turn Bolivia into a leader in the effort to fight poverty in Latin America. At the same time, they embraced a “Socialist lite” approach that maintained relatively business-friendly policies — especially as compared to the more far more repressive and severe socialist government in Venezuela.

More than 10,000 troops were called to keep the peace. In a message clearly aimed at the socialists, Áñez’s influential interior minister, Arturo Murillo, led a show of force Saturday with soldiers and armored vehicles on the streets of La Paz. Murillo said the effort was meant to prevent “the return of dictators” — a clear reference to Morales, who was democratically elected three times before his controversial bid for a fourth term last year.

Arce has sought to distance himself from Morales. In an interview last week with The Post, Arce said Morales would need to face the justice system to defend himself against “numerous” charges if he returned.

“We think that our comrade Evo has every right, if he so wishes, to return to the country and defend himself,” Arce said.

More than 10,000 troops were called to keep the peace. In a message clearly aimed at the socialists, Áñez’s influential interior minister, Arturo Murillo, led a show of force Saturday with soldiers and armoured vehicles on the streets of La Paz. Murillo said the effort was meant to prevent “the return of dictators” — a clear reference to Morales, who was democratically elected three times before his controversial bid for a fourth term last year.

Arce has sought to distance himself from Morales. In an interview last week with The Post, Arce said Morales would need to face the justice system to defend himself against “numerous” charges if he returned.

“We think that our comrade Evo has every right, if he so wishes, to return to the country and defend himself,” Arce said.

More than 10,000 troops were called to keep the peace. In a message clearly aimed at the socialists, Áñez’s influential interior minister, Arturo Murillo, led a show of force Saturday with soldiers and armoured vehicles on the streets of La Paz. Murillo said the effort was meant to prevent “the return of dictators” — a clear reference to Morales, who was democratically elected three times before his controversial bid for a fourth term last year.

Arce has sought to distance himself from Morales. In an interview last week with The Post, Arce said Morales would need to face the justice system to defend himself against “numerous” charges if he returned.

“We think that our comrade Evo has every right, if he so wishes, to return to the country and defend himself,” Arce said.

Information and images by The Washington Post and MSN news

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