New President and Vice President Take Office

November 8, 2020.  President Luis Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca
are officially sworn in for a five-year term.

On Sunday, November 8 President Luis Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca were officially sworn in for a five-year term, completing the transfer of power from the "transitional government" imposed on Bolivia by a U.S.-backed military coup a year ago. President Arce and his running mate of the Movement Toward Socialism-Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (MAS-IPSP) were elected by an overwhelming majority of over 55 per cent on October 18. Deputies and Senators who make up the two chambers of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, where MAS-IPSP holds the majority of seats, had been sworn in earlier. Almost 52 per cent of those who make up the new legislature are women, one of the highest percentages in the world.

Two days before their official swearing-in, at dawn on Friday, November 6 Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca participated in an Indigenous ceremony at the ruins of the pre-Columbian city of Tiwanaku, Bolivia's most important archaelogical and ceremonial site. There they symbolically assumed the governance of Bolivia by receiving the staff of power from Amautas (Indigenous wise persons) and pledged to govern in peace, unity and prosperity, promising not to betray the trust of the people. A similar ritual was celebrated with them in La Paz the morning of their swearing-in, led by the National Council of Amautas, who asked Pachamama (Mother Earth) for permission to open a good path during the presidential term.

November 6, 2020. Indigenous ceremony during which the new president and vice president  symbolically assumes the governance of Bolivia.

 MAS senators are sworn in.
Starting the day before the official swearing-in, members of unions and many of the organized social movements that are part of MAS' base, including youth groups, guarded the area around Murillo Square where the government buildings are located, spending the night there. The people's forces were not about to leave safeguarding the democracy they fought to restore, and the safety of their new government, to anyone but themselves, especially before the transfer of power took place. The treacherous role played by the country's police and military, who were instrumental in consummating last year's coup and in carrying out massacres against the people is still a fresh memory. The people's role in defending their electoral victory was all the more important given that just days earlier, recalcitrant elements of the reactionary coup forces, unwilling to accept their humiliating electoral defeat, were able to engage in a terrorist attack by detonating dynamite in front of the MAS headquarters while Luis Arce was meeting inside with others. That incident followed the killing last month of the militant and popular young mineworkers' leader and MAS organizer Orlando Gutiérrez. He succumbed in hospital to head injuries suffered in an attack allegedly carried out by a gang of those elements as well.

Thanks to the vigilance of the organized people, Sunday's official events and celebrations went off smoothly. They were enjoyed by the tens of thousands who came from all over the country to proudly celebrate the victory they achieved by uniting in action to get rid of the hated coup government of the racist oligarchy. The oligarchy was intent on destroying the gains of the last 14 years, including the country's public health system, with disastrous consequences. In their rejoicing at their ability to restore democratic rule in the short time that they did, and to hand such a sharp rebuff to the imperialist forces that set the coup in motion, patriotic Bolivians were joined by many others worldwide including in Canada and Quebec. Peoples worldwide wish them well as they take on the challenge of defending what they have achieved.

(Photos: Kawshachum News, L. Arce, O. Vargas)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 44 - November 14, 2020

Article Link:
Bolivia: New President and Vice President Take Office


Website:   Email: