new 2019 election report reopens debate on suspected fraud

Evo Morales on October 26, 2019 in Chimoré, Bolivia.

The results of the Bolivian elections of October 20, 2019 have not finished spreading. "Fraud", "manipulations", "irregularities", accusations of the opposition in the aftermath of the first round of the presidential election had unleashed a wave of anger which had led to the forced departure of President Evo Morales (2006-2019), now exiled in Argentina. They were soon to be reflected in a report by the Organization of American States (OAS) which called into question the integrity of the ballot. But another report, published by the New york times Sunday June 6 contested that of the OAS and revived the debate in Bolivia.

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The preliminary version of the OAS study was published on November 10, 2019, in a climate of extreme tension. According to Bolivian analyst and editorialist Gonzalo Mendieta, quoted by the New York Times, he had "Put an end to the legitimacy that the result of the election could have", which gave Evo Morales the winner in the first round with 10 points ahead of his main opponent.

What did this report contain? Without ever using the word "Fraud", he was pointing "Serious irregularities", "willful misconduct", the "Manipulation of computer servers" and a change "Inexplicable" of the tendency to vote in favor of candidate Morales. He concluded that he was "Impossible to guarantee data integrity and certify results (elections) ". The very afternoon of the report’s release, Evo Morales left power, dropped by the military.

"Method problems"

It is this report that is today challenged by an independent university study, conducted by three researchers – Francisco Rodriguez, economist specializing in Latin America at Tulane University (Louisiana), and Dorothy Kronick and Nicolas Idrobo, from the University of Pennsylvania – and published by New York Times.

Investigators, who retrieved data provided by the Bolivian electoral authorities to the North American daily, claim that part of the OAS findings would be "Wrong" because based on bad statistical models. "We looked closely at the statistical evidence from the OAS and found problems with their method, says Francisco Rodriguez, one of the researchers. Once these problems are corrected, the results of the OAS become blurred and there is no longer any statistical evidence of fraud. "

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