Progressives secure majority in the chambers of congress in Bolivia


The Movement to Socialism (MAS), the progressives, has secured a majority presence in the Senate and Deputy Chamber of Bolivia, Vice President of the country Álvaro García Linera said Monday.

During a presentation explaining the results of the election on October 20, the vice president said MAS obtained 21 representatives in the Senate while securing 68 lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

The Bolivian senior official said, “the MAS has prevailed in the general elections in 2019 in 289 municipalities, which is equivalent to more than 85 percent acceptance in the territory.”

“The people have opted for the stability of the country. The Bolivians opted for the coherence of the Executive and Legislative,” he said.

The vice president lamented the violence and confrontation that has taken place after the announcement of the preliminary results of the elections.

García Linera also said former presidential candidate Carlos Mesa has so far rejected to participate in an audit of the election results and bets on confrontation.

However, he urged the former candidate to put aside the undemocratic attitude.

The vice president also stressed that the government is willing to review the voting minutes as they respect the will expressed by the Bolivian people at the polls on October 20.

“We hope that the losing candidates will recognize their defeat and if there is any claim there is the audit. We are facing a candidate who does not want to recognize his defeat,” he said.

A week ago, Evo Morales, candidate of the progressive camp in Bolivia, was re-elected as president of the country with 47.08 percent of the vote, with more than 10 percent difference ahead of Mesa, which discards the need for a second round according to the Bolivian constitution.

Evo calls on opposition to respect electoral results

Bolivia experienced on Friday a full day of strikes led by opposition groups who were dissatisfied with the results of the presidential elections that took place on October 20. The election saw an important victory for President Evo Morales who won with 47.08% of the votes.

The strikes took place in the main cities of Bolivia, including La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre and Santa Cruz. The strikes denounced the alleged “electoral fraud” by Morales, who later challenged the opposition and the international community to prove it “vote to vote.”

The main opposition candidate, Carlos Mesa of the Comunidad Ciudadana (CC) party, expressed his rejection of the results through his Twitter account on Thursday and urged his followers to continue demonstrations throughout the country.

Likewise, civic committees, groups linked to right-wing political alliances and traditionally representing the economic interests of the ruling class, have mobilized their supporters of urban sectors in major cities.

These groups used the “fraud” political strategy to demand a second electoral round that was also supported by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU), who were part of the international observation.

For his part, Morales, at an event in the Cochabamba city, challenged these organizations, and countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and the U.S., who have cast doubt on the elections of October 20, to demonstrate the “fraud” that until now the opposition has not been able to prove.

He also called on his followers to remain calm and not fall into provocation in the face of the protests that lead sectors related to the opposition candidate.

“Let’s not go into provocation, they’re looking for a dead man to blame us. Resistance, defense of democracy, of the triumph of the Bolivian people, but without entering into confrontation, it is my request, brotherly leaders,” said Morales.

Meanwhile, the opposition and civic committees have called for a “civil resistance” to continue until a second round is accepted.

The same groups used the strategy of “civil resistance” in 2008 to destabilize Morales’ government. Those violent acts unleashed almost a civil war between urban and rural sectors embodied in racist and class actions by urban groups rejecting the mandate of the first indigenous president in the country.

The electoral body of Bolivia has published the results showing 99.99%, confirming Evo Morales as winner by the Movement to Socialism (MAS) with 47.08% of the votes, compared to Mesa’s 36.51 (CC).

Bolivian electoral law requires 50% of the votes plus one or 40% with 10 points advantage over the second to win in the first round, but when these percentages are not achieved, it goes to the second round between the two most voted.

María Eugenia Choque, the president of the electoral body, appeared before the media to ensure that they are open to the audit requested by organizations such as the UN, OAS and the EU.

Rightists torch election offices

A Journal of People report said:

The rightists have already torched electoral offices in some regions and have organized marches and strikes in a number of cities while raising allegation of vote rigging.

The rightist protesters blocked roads in parts of the highland capital of La Paz on Saturday.

On the election day, the rightists burned down vote counting centers, vandalized MAS headquarters and assaulted indigenous supporters of the MAS.

The opposition and the so-called civic committees have called for a “civil resistance” to continue until a second round is accepted.

Election transparency praised

However, no international observers in the 92-member OAS team led by the former Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Manuel Gonzalez, which scrutinized the election in all its stages and throughout the country, had raised any issues.

A number of international observers praised the legitimacy and transparency of the process.

One of the leading observers, Rixi Moncada, who is the president of the electoral court in Honduras, praised the level of independent monitoring that took place, saying that “The vote count is open to all who want to see it… we could see the noting down of each of the votes from each ballot paper.”

Spanish MEP Manu Pineda, another observer in the election, also spoke to media praising the legitimacy of the process.

Manu Pineda said, “In Spain ballots are counted and assigned very quickly, however in Bolivia, each ballot paper is held and shown to all, so there cannot be any manipulation, the vote is then recorded publicly on a board for all to see. The count takes a very long time, but we can see that it’s a positive thing because it stops any possibility of fraud.”

“Everything has taken place with total normality and regularity,” Portuguese MEP Sandra Perreira added.

No evidence

The OAS’s and rightists’ charge was also rebutted by Mark Weisbrot of the Washington-based Centre for Economic and Policy Research, who pointed out that the OAS statement “provides absolutely no evidence — no statistics, numbers, or facts of any kind — to support this idea. And in fact, a preliminary analysis of the voting data at all of the more than 34,000 voting tables — which is all publicly available and can be downloaded by anyone — shows no evidence of irregularity.”

As Weisbrot explained, “the change in the vote margin in the later-reporting voting centers is a result of geography, i.e., pro-government areas, on average, reported later than those that have a higher proportion of voters who are against the government.”

Possibility of audit

The Bolivian government said on Sunday it planned to agree a deal with the OAS within days to audit the just concluded national election won by leftist President Evo Morales.

Morales has said he would call a second-round run-off vote with his closest rival Carlos Mesa if the OAS’ audit turned up any evidence of fraud.

Bolivian Deputy Trade Minister Benjamin Blanco told state TV on Sunday that a deal with the OAS on the terms of an audit, including the selection of chief auditors, was being negotiated and should wrap up this week.

The OAS said on Saturday that it expected to begin the audit mid-week.

Asked if the government would agree to enact the audit’s findings, Blanco said any deal “can’t contradict what’s established in our constitution and national laws.”

Brazil EU

Brazil, landlocked Bolivia’s biggest trade partner, has already said it would not recognize Morales’ win until the OAS finishes an audit of the vote count.

The EU and OAS, both of whom sent observer missions to Bolivia, have also pushed Morales to convene a second-round vote to ease recent unrest.

Peru, governed by a centrist president, said it would take part in the audit at Bolivia’s request and called for the process to be carried out respecting Bolivian laws.

U.S. senator Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio asserting the day after the election, before all the votes were counted, that Morales had not won enough to avoid a second round and expressing his concern that “he will tamper with the results or process to avoid this.”

Instigating hatred and racism

Evo Morales, leader of the MAS, has repeatedly denied allegations by the right-leaning opposition that he strong-armed the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) into giving him just enough votes in Sunday’s election to avoid a riskier second-round election with Mesa.

Morales said his detractors were “envious” of his achievements and accused the opposition of trying to stir up unrest to try to unseat him illegally. “With lies and tricks they’re trying to instigate hatred and racism,” he said.

Morales had warned on Saturday that his rural supporters would siege cities that continue to protest his victory, alleging the opposition was stirring up unrest in a bid to unseat him illegally.

In a speech in the region of Cochabamba, a bastion of rural support, Morales invited countries in the region that have called for him to hold a run-off vote – U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Colombia – to take part in an audit of the official tally.

“Let’s do an audit vote by vote,” Morales said at a military event broadcast on state TV. “I’ll join (the audit). If there’s fraud, the next day we’ll convene a second-round” election, he added in comments broadcast on state TV.

“There’s a plan,” Morales said after meeting with the local CONALCAM, a coalition of indigenous groups, social movements and workers’ unions, committee. “If they want strikes, no problem. We’ll join them by seizing cities. Let’s see if they can take it,” Morales told cheering crowds of supporters.

He also called on his followers to remain calm and not fall into provocation in the face of the protests that lead sectors related to the opposition candidate.

“Let’s not go into provocation, they’re looking for a dead man to blame us. Resistance, defense of democracy, of the triumph of the Bolivian people, but without entering into confrontation, it is my request, brotherly leaders,” said Morales.

CONALCAM took to the streets for peaceful mobilizations to defend democracy from right-wing violence and any attempts to subvert the electoral process, and in support of social progress and Evo Morales.

No vote tampering  

The TSE has denied vote tampering and any foul play. The TSE has invited the OAS to audit the official tally.

A passing acquaintance with Bolivia’s electoral geography would confirm that the rural indigenous areas, which tend to be the last to be counted have traditionally been in favor of Morales.

Morales has overseen a rare period of economic growth and political stability in South America’s poorest country.

Díaz-Canel congratulates Evo

Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico have sent Morales congratulations on his win.

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, the President of Cuba, sent a congratulatory message to his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, for his victory in general elections held Sunday.

The Cuban leader, who is currently touring several European countries, stressed that victory of Evo and the MAS is the “victory of a plurinational Bolivia and its work of social justice – broad, deep and progressive. This is a victory for Latin America.”

On his official Twitter account, Díaz-Canel commented that Bolivia continues left on the Latin American political map. “Despite the continental right’s media war, Evo won for the fourth time. Congratulations brother President,” he wrote.

Sabotage democratic process

Diego Pary, Bolivian Foreign Affairs Minister, denounced the lack of respect from the right-wing opposition in Bolivia toward voters’ decision to reelect Evo Morales as president, criticizing their attempts to damage the country election process.

At the 18th Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Azerbaijan, the Bolivian official said there is a plot against the Morales administration reelected last Sunday by those who took extreme action against the government by burning electoral polling stations.

Pary also said that it was to be expected that the right wing, backed by the OAS, would try to sabotage the process of democratic and cultural transformation led by the Indigenous leader, possibly the most successful in the continent in terms of duration and economic growth.

“Our progressive vision has triumphed and social organizations recognize the social work of the government,” said Pary, while affirming that Bolivia has no place for the neoliberal policies that have shaken Ecuador.

Finally, the Bolivian Foreign Minister called on the members of the NAM to unite to maintain multilateralism and defend themselves against unilateral measures that threaten the governments and peoples of independent states.​​​​​​​




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