Manisha Vepa reports for Foreign Brief:
Bolivia will relax stay-at-home rules today in regions of the country that have been less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to restrictions during the outbreak, Bolivia’s May 3 elections were postponed. A new vote will be held sometime between June and August. Until then, Jeanine Anez has served as interim president, and many are concerned about her policies that seem to discriminate against the opposition.
Despite previous statements to the contrary, Anez will be running in the upcoming election. While many Bolivians approve of her tough stance on the virus, Anez likely does not have enough public support to overcome former president Evo Morales’ successor, Luis Arce of the Movement for Socialism (MAS), and ex-president Carlos Mesa in the first round of voting.
In the second round, Arce’s economic background could give him an advantage given the contraction caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Mesa will likely play on public fear of a MAS power grab—alluding to the legacy of Morales—giving him the chance to consolidate the opposition and, potentially, gain an upper hand during the second round of voting. Regardless of the outcome, this election will further polarise Bolivian politics, which will have negative consequences for the country’s democratic institutions in the long term.