Bolivia's President Evo Morales Announces Re-Election Plans

By Gaudin, Andres | NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs, January 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

Bolivia's President Evo Morales Announces Re-Election Plans


Gaudin, Andres, NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs


As Bolivian President Evo Morales begins the last year of his second term, his re-election as president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia appears assured (NotiSur, April 16, 2010). If elected next October, he could continue in office until 2020.

On Jan. 22--just after delivering the obligatory annual report of his eighth year in office--the Bolivian leader mixed with crowds and climbed a street platform to launch his next presidential campaign. His annual report to the legislature had focused on his administration's accomplishments--successes that explain his popular support.

Both sympathetic and unfriendly political scientists and analysts--in Bolivia social tensions have reached an extreme in which there is no room for middle-of-the-road or undefined positions--believe that, based on current economic indicators and inclusive social policies that have brought the majority indigenous population into economic and educational systems, there's no possibility that the right could oust the current government in an election (NotiSur, Aug. 15, 2008).

Right-wing opposition weak and divided

During the past eight years, Morales' ruling Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) has garnered broad support in six elections--three with more than 50% of the vote and the other three with more than 60% (NotiSur, April 16, 2010). Morales received 53.73% of the vote in 2005; he and his Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera were re-elected with a 64.22% mandate in 2009 (NotiSur, Jan. 6, 2006, and Dec 18, 2009).

The Morales-Garcia Linera team has one additional advantage-the opposition's own inefficiency (NotiSur, Sept. 4, 2009, Oct. 16, 2009, and Dec. 7, 2012). In eight years, right-wing factions have not been able to build their leadership or agree on a common platform. In fact, the opposition has splintered into small groups. Anticipating the upcoming Oct. 5 elections, it began looking for a candidate last year. However, the opposition's conversations failed as individuals sought their own agendas. Today there are at least three candidates, each claiming to be the opposition's best option.

Perhaps the right-wing opposition's greatest accomplishment in 2012-2013 was creating a split with the two main social movements supporting Morales: the indigenous native population (the president belongs to the organizations representing Aymara people) and the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), the powerful union central that has played a key role in the country's history (NotiSur, March 2, 2012). Attempts to bribe leaders open to receiving gifts made it occasionally appear the president had lost support from those two bases. That loss of support, however, was transitory--just a few temporary flashes.

Last March, for example, the COB created a political party--the Partido de los Trabajadores (PT)--specifically to pull votes away from MAS. That adventure was short lived and the PT was deactivated in November, eight months later. At the COB's last congress, union members faithful to the president ousted the small Trotskyite group that had created the PT, ending a divisive escapade inspired by a cell of the Partido Obrero (PO) of Argentina.

"It's difficult, if not impossible, to confront and discredit a government that has made so few mistakes and can show a host of accomplishments that perhaps no other South American government has achieved, including Venezuela's Revolucion Bolivariana," Eduardo Paz Rada, a journalist sympathetic to MAS, wrote in the November issue of America XXI, a regional magazine.

Positive economic indicators recognized

Paz Rada referred to a series of indicators that, weeks later, Morales would enumerate before the Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional during his annual Informe. On the eve of the celebration of the beginning of Morales' ninth year, the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) had also synthesized these achievements. Economic growth grew from 4. …

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