October 18 General Election

Mass demonstration in La Paz, July 14, 2020, against the Áñez government. (TeleSUR)

The campaign is finally on for the long overdue Bolivian general election originally set for May 3, then postponed three times by the coup government of "interim president" Jeanine Áñez on the basis that the conditions did not permit it going forward during the pandemic. Finally, in the face of massive street protests by the organized people furious that their right to elect a president and government of their choosing continued to be blocked, Áñez agreed to the demand of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly that October 18 be guaranteed as the date for the election with no further postponements. Both chambers of the Assembly are controlled by the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), whose leader Evo Morales was prevented from assuming the presidency after being democratically re-elected last October, by the U.S.-orchestrated military coup that installed Áñez in his place.

On September 6, under the banner "Vamos a salir adelante" ("We will overcome"), MAS launched its campaign with a large vehicle rally in the city of Santa Cruz led by its presidential candidate Luis Arce, former Minister of the Economy under Evo Morales. "We are beginning the campaign to restore democracy and give the Bolivian people economic, political and social stability," Arce said. "This caravan is endless. The people of Bolivia are fed up with the right-wing parties and want to once again have a peaceful country for all Bolivians, inclusive, with economic stability, which only we guarantee." Vice presidential candidate and former Foreign Minister, David Choquehuanca, kicked off the campaign in the combative working class city El Alto with an ancestral Aymara ceremony. He said re-electing the MAS would allow a new stage in the transformation of Bolivia to go forward, in which mistakes made in the first stage will be corrected and new leaders promoted.

The U.S.-linked coup forces, themselves far from united, have several candidates in the running for president and are scrambling to find the way to prolong their illegitimate, dictatorial rule. They have persecuted, jailed and laid trumped-up charges against as many MAS leaders and activists who remain in the country as possible, and opened judicial processes for invented crimes against others, including Luis Arce. They wasted no time after usurping power in spuriously accusing Evo Morales of "terrorism" to prevent him from returning to Bolivia from Argentina where he has been living as a refugee. On September 7, one day after the election campaign opened in Bolivia, he was disqualified from running as a candidate to the Senate for the Department of Cochabamba by a constitutional court in La Paz. Evo's response came in a tweet, "History shows that they will be able to disqualify Evo, but they will not be able to outlaw the people."

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 34 - September 12, 2020

Article Link:
Bolivia: October 18 General Election


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