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Bolivia’s MAS Defeats Coup Party in Presidential Elections, as Evo Morales Vows Return

Oct. 19, 2020 (EIRNS)— Although official election results are not yet in, exit polls and several surveys gave Luis Arce, presidential candidate of the MAS party founded by ousted President Evo Morales, a landslide victory in yesterday’s elections. Unofficial results gave Arce, who served as Morales’s finance minister from 2006 to 2017 and was responsible for much of Bolivia’s tremendous economic success, as much as 54% of the vote. Arce’s opponent, the neoliberal Carlos Mesa, who briefly served as President 2003-05, reportedly garnered a little over 32% of the vote and conceded to Arce last night. Jeanine Áñez, the right-wing religious fanatic who illegally seized power after Morales was ousted in a coup last November, publicly congratulated Arce and his running mate, David Choquehuanca, a former foreign minister.

Contrary to predictions of violence and widespread fraud, the election took place in an environment of relative calm. Bolivian sources have told EIR that the economic devastation caused by the Áñez government’s neoliberal and privatization policies, the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic combined with widespread corruption, had produced such rage in the population, that any attempt to carry out fraud would have caused a violent social explosion with unpredictable consequences. Yesterday’s victory was met with jubilation by many Ibero-American populations—if not by their governments—and seen as a resounding rebuke of Áñez and her “democracy” backers in the U.S. State Department and war party.

From Argentina, where he has resided for most of this year, Evo Morales issued a statement welcoming the victory, saying that “sooner or later” he intends to return to Bolivia; he called on business sectors and workers to come together in a great “reconciliation pact” to rebuild the country. This is not the time for vengeance, he warned. Arce has said he intends to govern “for all Bolivians” in a government of “national unity.” He vowed to address the immense poverty afflicting large numbers of Bolivians, who have been devastated by coronavirus, and work at rebuilding the internal market and productive apparatus. The task ahead is an enormous one. More than 85% of the Bolivian labor force works in the “informal” or underground economy and has been abandoned by the Áñez government.

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