Thursday, December 5, 2019
Subscribers Section User ID Password
BOLIVIA
Morales cruises to election victory
Ricardo Herrera Farell
12/10/2009
Send a comment Print this page

President seeks unity in often-divided country.

President Evo Morales easily won another five-year term on Dec. 6, capturing 63 percent of the vote and control of the Legislative Assembly, a victory needed to push through his agenda in this often violently-divided country.

But Morales, who won in six of the countries nine departments — La Paz, Oruro, Potosi, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Tarija — must now focus on the April 2010 gubernatorial elections. Steadfast opposition to his government and policies is most pronounced in the eastern lowland departments of Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz.

Key to victory
Most analysts say that a divided opposition propelled Morales to victory, along with his policies for social inclusion, redistribution of wealth, through social programs —including those for senior citizens and school-aged children, highly popular in the impoverished nation whose majority has been ravaged by exclusionary policies for centuries.

“No political force in recent decades has had as much power as [Evo Morales´ Movement to Socialism] MAS,” said Jorge Lazarte, a political analyst. He said many sectors support the government because it recognizes them, something previous governments failed to do. He added, however, that “the opposition did everything possible for Morales to win.”
The opposition lacked proposals to oppose the MAS and capture votes as well as weak leadership.

“They thought it was enough to criticize the government to show that they were right and didn´t ask themselves why are there so many people who vote for Evo Morales?” said Lazarte.

Morales´ rival candidate, Manfred Reyes Villa, of the Progress Plan for Bolivia- National Convergence, a new movement, won 27 percent of the votes, but said the election was “the first battle for democracy” and that the lack of campaign funds also played a role in the loss.

Divided opposition
Reyes Villa accused the prefect of the Santa Cruz department, Rubén Costas, one of the main leaders of the autonomy movement, which Morales vehemently opposed, and president of the Senate, Óscar Ortiz, who ran for a Senate seat for the National Unity party, but lost, putting their own interests above uniting against Morales.

Ortiz´s party won just 6 percent of the vote while the Social Alliance movement of René Joaquino won 3 percent, giving them a minimal representation in the legislature, where the MAS will have 25 of the 36 Senate seats and 85 of the 130 seats in the Deputies´ Chamber.

“I think with this resounding victory the government will have the chance to take its own actions,” said political analyst Carlos Cordero. “With such a weak opposition it will not have difficulties in the approval of laws it proposes.”

The MAS also won five of the seven indigenous seats in the legislature, which were specially-designated for the first time to allow this historically unrepresented group to have a voice in lawmaking. The Progress Plan for Bolivia-National Convergence won the other two seats.

Women will also comprise 30 percent of the legislature, as is  intended by a gender equality law.

“This without a doubt is a not victory for the government, but for women themselves, who were not only demanding to participate in electoral processes as voters, but as candidates,” said sociologist Eduardo Leaños, author of the book “Electoral Systems in Bolivia.”

The new Senate president will be former Ombudswoman, Ana María Campero.
—Latinamerica Press.


Compartir

Morales was easily reelected on a platform whose centerpiece was social inclusion. (Photo: www.tercerainformacion.es)
Related News
Latinamerica Press / Noticias Aliadas
Reproduction of our information is permitted if the source is cited.
Contact us: (511) 7213345
Address: Jr. Daniel Alcides Carrión 866, 2do. piso, Magdalena del Mar, Lima 17, Perú
Email: webcoal@comunicacionesaliadas.org