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Campaigns for Bolivia’s presidential election begin today

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Campaigns for Bolivia’s presidential election begin today

Bolivia Reuters 1
Photo: Reuters

Candidates for Bolivia’s September 6 presidential election will begin campaigning today.

The election will be a re-run of last year’s contentious vote, which prompted nationwide protests and the resignation of former president Evo Morales over allegations of electoral irregularities. The debate over the adjusted electoral timeline became a flashpoint for Bolivia’s divided political field, after the initial voting schedule was interrupted due to the total lockdown imposed in late March.

The candidates’ positions have largely been shaped by the shadow of Morales, who continues to be a polarising political influence from his exile in Buenos Aires. While Morales is banned from running and faces charges of sedition and terrorism, his successor Luis Arce has become increasingly popular and is currently a frontrunner, given his voting intention average of 33% in recent opinion polls.

Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party, which represents a diversity of leftist interests including trade unions and rural farmers, remains the largest faction in both chambers of Bolivia’s legislature. While anti-MAS sentiment is high among the centre and right wings of Bolivian politics, the participation of seven candidates challenging Arce—including interim president Jeanine Añez—will likely divide the vote and trigger a runoff election, scheduled for October 18.

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