BOLIVIA. La Paz. Transitional president Jeanine Añez surrendered her candidacy in the upcoming presidential election next month during a live broadcast this evening.
“If we don´t unite then Evo Morales will come back and we will lose our democracy,” Añez claimed in her passionate state of the union address.
Allegations of misconduct and scandal
Añez´s brief term at the helm of the nation has been dogged by scandalous dealings and harsh criticism. The majority of these are centered around how her administration handled the COVID-19 crisis. One minister of health was arrested for misuse of government funds to procure necessary equipment for hospitals. Another minister resigned amid claims of constitutional misconduct.
The president found herself in political hot water when her daughter flew guests across the country for a private birthday party. This violated the strict quarantine laws set by Añez herself. This occurred while the rest of the nation still suffered in lockdown with families separated, hundreds left jobless, and many unable to return home to their loved ones.
Since then, her popularity has continued to wane. At the time of her resignation, Añez held a mere 8% of the popular vote, according to a recent poll.
Uniting political parties against a dictator
The race for the presidency next month boils down to two key parties. The Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), which is the party of the deposed dictator Evo Morales. The other is the Comunidad Ciudadana party, whose candidate is Carlos Mesa.
Concerns have been voiced by the government and public alike that a MAS victory would mean the overthrown Morales could potentially return to power. While supporters of the MAS party remain united behind their former leader, the remaining popular vote has been fractured between a handful of independent hopefuls who have pulled critical votes from Mesa´s party.
Añez expressed her hopes that her resignation from the presidential race would inspire other candidates carrying small portions of the popular vote to do the same. This way the country may realign their votes with Carlos Mesa and keep both the MAS and a dictator from returning to power.
The live broadcast of Añez´s address can be viewed here.