A year after Evo Morales fled, Bolivian socialists seek return to power

A year after Evo Morales fled, Bolivian socialists seek return to power

Morales, banned from running this time, is watching from Argentina as his former finance minister, front-runner Luis Arce, 57, faces two main competitors, the centrist former president Carlos Mesa, 67, and right-wing nationalist Luis Camacho, 41. Fears have run high of a repeat of the violence last year that saw mobs burn ballot boxes and clashes in the streets, but the early hours of voting on Sunday appeared largely calm. In a surprise decision Saturday, Bolivia’s electoral tribunal announced it would not release the traditional quick-count projection of the outcome as initially expected on Sunday. The tribunal said it would instead wait to release results until all ballots were counted or tallies showed an indisputable trend. The decision, made out of what it described as an abundance of caution in a highly polarized race, came as both sides went into the vote claiming the other was going to cheat. Private exit polls were still expected to be released, offering insight into an election seen as a gauge of the strength of democracy in Latin America. But the electoral council’s decision meant Bolivians might wait a day or two, and potentially up to a week for official results. Bolivia is currently being run by interim President Jeanine Áñez, a right-wing caretaker who has been accused of presiding over a wave of repression against leftists during her year in power. She pulled out of the race last month amid poor polling numbers. Arce condemned the decision to withhold partial results. He said his party, the ...
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