BNamericas reports, pictures from the internet:
President Evo Morales, who has already weathered a series of massive protests against his bid to run for a fourth straight mandate, is looking at a rocky road to Bolivia’s October elections.
Morales has legally overturned a 2016 referendum rejecting his candidacy and now faces a potential national strike when influential opposition movement Comité Pro Santa Cruz holds an assembly June 25 that seeks to block Morales’ candidacy and pressure to replace TSE electoral board members.
The current president celebrated his 13th year in power in January, making him Latin America’s longest-serving leader. He plans to run with his long-serving vice-president Alvaro García Linera.
“It’s a battle for principles,” Santa Cruz opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho said. “We demand the resignation of electoral board officials to be replaced by notable citizens who will ensure the constitution is respected and won’t allow this duo to run.”
Leading opposition candidate Carlos Mesa, a former president, warned Bolivia faces the danger of rigged elections October 20 as evidence points to the ruling MAS party stacking the electoral board with former government officials and alleged mismanagement of the electoral roll.
“The fraudulent inscriptions in the electoral register are another example of unacceptable irregularities,” Mesa wrote via Twitter. “The seriousness of this delinquent fact is evidence of imminent risk of vote manipulation and electoral fraud.”
Mesa served as president from 2003-2005. He saw the field of fellow opposition candidates thin as another former president, Jaime Paz Zamora (1989-1993), withdrew his candidacy last week.
Meanwhile, protests, roadblocks and strikes have been ongoing this week, underscoring the widespread discontent with the government. Truck and bus drivers blocked highways in Santa Cruz department to protest the poor state of roads in the region, while state health workers staged a strike to protest faulty infrastructure and a lack of medicines in state hospitals.
Morales has launched major infrastructure initiatives including the Cochabamba railway, Puerto Busch port, regional airports, highways, hospitals and irrigation projects as the election campaign heats up. This week he promulgated a law to spur the construction of 67 health facilities.
Bolivian Thoughts opinion: Let’s not forget that the impossible candidate has wasted over $180 billion dollars. Hundreds of Bolivians fled the country due to political persecution. Over 60 violently dead people due to turmoil and by the actions of his acolytes along with police brutality. Under evo, narcotrafficking, human trade, smuggling had bloomed. He relies on the ignorance of his voters, he manipulates them, misleads them and with the absolute control of ALL State powers, he is going to force his way in, with the major electoral fraud ever seen in Bolivia!