On Sunday, Bolivia will hold it’s long-awaited elections.
I’m not crazy about Evo Morales — that’s no secret. Despite my insignificant opposition, though, it appears he will win a plurality (not a majority) of the vote.
Whatever happens, it is highly likely the president will not be decided by the election but by the Congress, since none of the candidates is likely to get a majority of the popular vote, which Bolivia’s consitution requires.
Yoli got an email from a family member in Santa Cruz who mentioned they were planning to vote for Evo. Why? Not because they liked Evo. Quite the contrary.
No, the reason is that Evo and other MAS party leaders have said if he doesn’t become president they will mobilize their supporters and blockade the streets. There has been public talk from a MAS senator about a possible coup d’etat. Yoli’s relative also said that they feel it’s time to see what Evo can do. He’s been talking big, so if he gets elected now he’ll HAVE to produce. He’ll no longer be able to say stupid things with no repercussions. If his presidency is fruitless, then the people will desert him. That’s their theory, anyway.
To me, a norteamericano with an admittedly limited knowledge of Bolivia, this is still amazing. I can’t fathom voting for someone I don’t support at all.
No matter what, I’m glad that Bolivia’s election process has gotten this far. Earlier in the year there was a genuine risk the elections might be put off indefinitely or that the political situation could break down into chaos.
It remains to be seen how the actual vote and post-voting process will play out, but I am hopeful there will be peace.
And if Evo does win, he will be not be in an enviable position. Virtually the rest of the government will be opposed to him, so he will not have much clout. Miguel Centellas of Ciao! says an Evo Morales presidency would be “the most heavily restricted presidency in Bolivia’s democratic history.”
That thought gives me comfort on Bolivia’s election eve.
P.S. Check these sites for interesting analysis as the election process unfolds over the coming days: