BOLIVIA. La Paz. After a tense election that took place on 18 Oct., it was announced Sunday evening that Luis Arce, presidential candidate for the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) won the presidency with 52.4% of the vote.
Carlos Mesa from the Comunidad Ciudadana party came in second with 31.5% and Luis Fernando Camacho trailed with 14.1% of the vote among other independent candidates. Exit poll numbers showed Mesa and Arce much closer, so the sweeping MAS victory has left much of the nation in shock.
The polls closed at 2 p.m. on Sunday and the country held its breath in anticipation of the results. Bolivia has endured a temporary government under the leadership of Jeanine Añez since 12 Nov. of last year. This came to pass after significant irregularities were found in the voting process during the October 2019 election, which ended with former president Evo Morales resigning after a short and bloody civil conflict.
The 2020 presidential election has been pushed back twice this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led many to accuse Añez of using the virus as an excuse to stay in power longer.
In anticipation of any post-election violence, Añez has mobilized the nation´s police and military to protect the electoral court and polling locations, the former of which was the target of violence after the election fraud scandal last year.
Many residents have expressed fear that deposed president Evo Morales will return to the country and resume a position of influence within the MAS party, of which he was president for 14 years.