Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Elections in Bolivia. (OAS)

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Elections in Bolivia. (OAS)

Article excerpt

THE OAS DEPLOYED fifty-four international observers throughout Bolivia for that country's June 30 presidential and legislative elections. The OAS Electoral Observation Mission called the process "peaceful, transparent, free, and secure."

"Bolivian men and women exercised the vote freely and in secret, with exemplary civic and democratic spirit," Chief of Mission Elizabeth Spehar reported to the Permanent Council on July 11. Spehar, who heads the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy, recognized the efforts of Bolivia's electoral authorities to carry out the elections under a demanding timetable.

In the tightly contested presidential race, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada of the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement garnered the most votes, followed by Evo Morales of the Movement Toward Socialism. Since no candidate exceeded the 50 percent benchmark to be elected, under Bolivian law the Congress must elect the president between the top two finishers. On August 4, the Congress elected Sanchez de Lozada president.

The Electoral Observation Mission, which was invited by the Bolivian government, began its activities in mid-June. Leaders of the observation team met with most of the eleven presidential candidates, as well as with government officials, representatives of civil society organizations, and others to hear their perspectives and concerns about the process.

The mission was based in five cities: La Paz, Sucre, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, and Tarija. …

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