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Bolivia's President and presidential candidate Evo Morales (AFP)
Bolivia's President and presidential candidate Evo Morales (AFP)

Opinion | Bolivia’s cry for democracy

In an early count, Morales was neck and neck with former president Carlos Mesa, but election officials had done a U-turn by the next day to put the incumbent firmly ahead

President Evo Morales of Bolivia said in a statement yesterday that the opposition was hatching a coup d’état against him after it questioned Sunday’s election results. In an early count, Morales was neck and neck with former president Carlos Mesa, but election officials had done a U-turn by the next day to put the incumbent firmly ahead. In the revised vote count, Morales led the race by 10 percentage points—precisely what he needed. This evoked suspicion and protests. The very candidacy of Morales had been controversial, since a proposal to end the presidential term limit was rejected by voters in a referendum held earlier.

What seems like an unconstitutional attempt by three-term president Morales to hold onto office has resulted in demonstrations all over the country, with echoes overseas as well. Blatant and divisive lies have been put out by Morales’ team, including wild charges of an internationally sponsored plot to overthrow him. In a bid to discredit protesters, Morales has tried to portray them as a violent bunch with mala fide motivations.

The Organization of American States had sent a team of election observers to watch the polls. They took a dim view of the electoral process’s integrity. On social media, members of the Bolivian public have expressed grave fears of the situation escalating into a civil war over Morales, who many want ejected from office by force. This would be a catastrophic outcome for this fragile democracy in South America. Better sense must

prevail to allow for a lawful second election in December and a peaceful transition of power, if needed.

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