At the end of last year, Evo Morales, the third time president of Bolivia won a controversial fourth presidential term in the general election. Accusations came from both inside and outside of Bolivia about fraudulence in voting procedures. Soon a coup by the military forced him to leave his own country in exile. A caretaker administration led by Jeanine Áñez took power two days after Morales left Bolivia on the 10th of November 2019.
The unelected government eventually organized another election after postponing it twice in a row. And despite all odds, the socialist party of Evo Morales won the recent Bolivian general election when Luis Arce, the candidate for Morales’s Movimiento al Socialismo (Mas) secured more than fifty percent of the votes. The closest opposition was Carlos Mesa, a former centrist president. He only received around thirty percent votes.
This recent victory has secured the future of Evo Morales’s Mas party after much turbulence that it had to go through since the last year’s coup. Morales himself was the first indigenous president of Bolivia. On top of that, he also became its president three times in a row despite the Bolivian constitution only allowing two terms. During his twelve-year run as president, he garnered much criticism from even his allies. His long-time close ally, former Brazilian President Lula da Silva called Morales’s wish for a fourth term presidency a “mistake.” But he also stated that “you can be certain that if Evo Morales runs for president, he’ll win in Bolivia.” (Greenwald, 2020). Although Morales didn’t run in the recent election, his party still won largely because of his massive support.
Despite accusation of “pseudo authoritarian methods”, Morales still has much support from the general public of Bolivia. After his forced exile at the hand of the Bolivian military, huge amounts of protesters took to the streets in their support of Morales and his Mas party. Mas lawmakers and senators, who hold a two-thirds majority, tried to hold sessions to declare Añez’s claim to the presidency illegal and prevent Morales’s resignation (Dan Collyns, 2019). The coup that put Añez’s interim government in charge was organized by right-wingers and was even supported by the USA based on the allegation of unconstitutional methods by Morales. Yet, Morales still had a huge amount of support especially from the indigenous community of his country. His work is largely centered on those groups that are marginalized and his socialist policies are still quite favorable among the poor classes of Bolivia.
Now the recent victory of his party led by the former finance minister of Mas party, Luis Arce is acknowledged by most as the will of the people. Even his contender Carlos Mesa conceded defeat by saying, “There is a large gap between the first-placed candidate and us and, as believers in democracy, it now falls to us to recognize that there is a winner in this election.” (Tom Phillips, 2020).
This recent victory proves that even after running the country for a decade Evo Morales’s socialist party has so much support in his country. It is truly impressive for a South American country and more so for third world democracies.
Dan Collyns, J. T. (2019, 11 15). Clashes in Bolivia as Morales supporters challenge interim president’s legitimacy. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/13/jeanine-anez-bolivia-president-promises-new-elections
Greenwald, G. (2020, 10 19). Bolivians Return Evo Morales’s Party to Power One Year After a U.S.-Applauded Coup. Retrieved from The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/2020/10/19/bolivia-returns-evo-morales-party-to-power-one-year-after-a-u-s-applauded-coup/
Tom Phillips, D. C. (2020, 10 19). Bolivia Election: Evo Morales’s leftwing party celebrates stunning comeback. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/19/bolivia-election-exit-polls-suggest-thumping-win-evo-morales-party-luis-arce