- To avoid a second round in December Morales needs at least 50% majority or 10-point lead over his rival Carlos Mesa;
- International observers from Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and the US said that they are watching the electoral process closely.
According to Reuters, Evo Morales is leading the election with 45,3% of votes against 38,2% for chief rival Carlos Mesa, according to a preliminary account of nearly 84% of ballots announced by the Bolivia’s electoral board, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of the country, on Monday 21th.
On the same day the authorities announced that Morales was close to winning on the first round, but data doesn’t show that, since to avoid a second round in December Morales needs at least 50% majority or 10-point lead over his rival.
For this reason, according to Deutsche Welle, the results were swiftly condemned by opposition groups and international observers from Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and the US. Also according to the media outlet Mesa, who led the country between 2001-2005, accused Morales of colluding with the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to tweak delayed results and avoid a runoff.
After that, protests and rioting were reported in at least six of Bolivia’s nine regions.
Morales has been in power since 2006. In a 2016 referendum, Bolivian voters rejected Morales’ proposal to scrap term limits. But in 2018, the country’s Supreme Court overturned the decision and ruled that Morales had the right to run again.
In office for nearly 14 years, Morales has been able to capitalize on the commodity boom and lead the country into a scenario of economic stability and reducing inequality, but his stay in power for so long is far from being considered healthy for Bolivian democracy.
Analysts also say the country’s high public deficit as well as the recent drop in natural gas exports could complicate the country’s economy next year.