End of electoral campaign in Bolivia, in a climate of uncertainty

Without much debate, the presidential election this Sunday is played around the figure of the outgoing head of state, Evo Morales.

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President Evo Morales meets in El Alto, a suburb of La Paz, on October 16th.
President Evo Morales meets in El Alto, a suburb of La Paz, on October 16th. Manuel Claure / REUTERS

In front of a blue tide in the colors of the Movement for Socialism (MAS), the ruling party, President Evo Morales, candidate for his 4e re-election, started on the evening of Wednesday, October 16, a lively no dance, with, on her arm, a young woman dressed in a pollera – the traditional puff skirt of indigenous women. In El Alto, a popular city that overlooks the capital, La Paz, considered one of the bastions of the MAS, the last campaign rally gathered thousands of people in a festive atmosphere, under the fireworks. Sunday, 7 million voters are expected to elect the new president and renew the Parliament.

"We are going to beat the people selling the country and the neoliberals," said Evo Morales.

"We are going to beat the people selling the country and the neoliberals"the presidential candidate, the triumphalist tone, drunk by the latest polls that give him 18 points ahead of his main opponent, Carlos Mesa (Comunidad Ciudadana, center). "Voting for the right is voting for those who want to privatize"said the former trade union leader, who, when he came to power in 2006, nationalized strategic companies, gas and oil in mind.

In the crowd, Janet Arbollo, a quarantine saleswoman at a small business in El Alto, made the trip. "We do not want another president, otherwise we will again fall into poverty and be discriminated against"she assures. A little further, near the platform, Eulogio Alberto assures him: "Evo is one of us, he suffered like us, he knows what it means to earn his bread. "

"Ethnic and cultural identification"

Evo Morales, of Aymara origin (the majority ethnic group), embodies the coming to power of the traditionally marginalized classes, indigenous and peasant. Former coca farmer, he can count on a faithful electorate, from the rural world and peripheries. "There is a real ethnic and cultural identificationsays Roger Cortez, professor of political science at San Andrés University. Whatever Evo Morales does, this hard core is recognized in him, he feels represented by him and will not abandon him. "

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To prevail again in the polls on Sunday, Evo Morales promises continuity and continues to boast in his harangues its economic and social balance sheet: rising growth, low inflation and strong foreign exchange reserves. Positive indicators that contrast with the regional panorama, where several countries are sinking into crisis, such as Venezuela, Ecuador or neighboring Argentina. On the social level, he says he has reduced poverty, increased wages and increased public spending. According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), extreme poverty has risen from 38% to 15%, while poverty has halved (34%).


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