This article is that the continuation of the previous article on the Bolivian Elections, published on the 23rd October 2020 edition of The Youth Ink. Here we are to speak about what lies ahead for Bolivia after an election victory for the previous president’s party MAS. What would be this leftward trend mean for Bolivia and what results in it’s going to produce. One would think why it’s important for discussing elections during a South American nation, but it’s important in International politics. This victory is vital because the Bolivian public has rejected the CIA-installed head of the state that signals the growing discontent among the general public regarding foreign interference during a sovereign country. during this globalized era, every country had been susceptible to election interference by foreign actors. we’ve heard reports of interference by others within the elections of several nations including India and the USA. Returning back to Bolivia, we will infer from the results that socialist policies are still relevant and popular among the public. Now it remains to be seen how the new regime would handle the damage done by the Pandemic while maintaining socialist pro-poor policies.
An undisputable landslide win
On 23rd October, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal declared Luis Arce as president-elect of Bolivia and David Choquehuanca as vice president-elect, with 55.1 percent of the votes. The MAS also obtained absolute majorities within the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. Arce’s thumping 54 percent of the vote, also because of the extraordinary 87 percent turnout for the 18th October polls, entitle the new government to say indisputable democratic legitimacy. Arce’s campaign was also ready to capture an outsized part of the undecided vote, making up around 20 percent of the electorate consistent with polls.
What does the victory imply?
As we also discussed before, the election victory was more of an indictment of the past year of rule by Áñez’s interim government, accused by its opponents of completing a vindictive takeover of the state by far-right white-skinned politicians, persecuting its critics and spurning indigenous people’s interests and also a symbol that MAS features a firm base of support independent of Evo Morales. Initial results show that Arce’s support was between six and ten points above Morales’ in 2019, which may be a clear cut indication of the recognition of the president-elect Acre. He inherits a rustic divided by income, region, and ethnicity and an economy teetering toward an expected contraction of 6.2 percent in 2020.
The economic woes
While the opposition focused on mobilizing anti-MAS sentiment, Arce placed the economy at the center of his campaign, a problem that resonated as Bolivia tipped into a deep downturn, partially thanks to restrictions getting to limit the spread of COVID-19. Bolivia is facing lower gas prices, shrinking revenues, and reduced external demand, similarly, foreign reserves have dropped precipitously. This year Bolivia will have a drop by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 6.2%; however next year economic process of two .1% is often achieved, informed Guillermo Aponte, former president of the financial institution of Bolivia (BCB). In Latin America, a 9% drop is predicted within the GDP of the whole region within the current fiscal year. The percentage, which at the top of 2019 stood at 4.8%, shot up to 11.6% in July 2020, as a result of the depression derived from the pandemic, although in August it fell slightly to 10.6%. consistent with Aponte, this year there’ll be a big contraction within the transportation, mining, construction, commerce, oil and gas, and manufacturing sectors, among others. the sole sectors during which growth is predicted are agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing, and public administration services.
Marcelo Arequipa, a political analyst, and professor at the Catholic University of Los Angeles Paz told Xinhua that, despite the very fact that the MAS achieved absolute majorities within the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, it’s essential to travel through a process of consent. The country remains polarized over issues like the role of the state and religion publicly life, economic policies, and therefore the autonomy of regions with non-indigenous majorities. MAS may need to become more hospitable sharing power and leaving power, so as to stay relevant. the huge margin of votes achieved by it amounts to fundamental electoral capital during a still-polarized context.
Less thumping majority
Electoral results for seats within the House and therefore the Senate, also selected 18 October, aren’t yet final, but exit polls suggest that while the MAS will maintain a majority, while it’ll not keep the 2 thirds of seats enabling it to bypass parliamentary filters or appoint judges to its liking. it’ll need to negotiate with the opposition instead. consistent with the exit polls, Luis Arce’s party will have 19 seats within the Senate, CC 13, and Creemos four out of the 36 seats. The two-thirds choose the Senate is important to approve, for instance, the extension of copies of reserved documents, the loss of mandate, or the prosecution of legislators who may have committed misconduct, mostly for political vengeance. However, aside from the two-thirds necessary to advance on key issues, MAS will have a majority therein chamber and also within the Chamber of Deputies, which can allow it to advance smoothly on other issues.
Situation of Morales
There also are concerns about the longer-term of Morales, who is in exile in Argentina. It remains to be seen what role Morales will serve within the Arce administration. Former President Evo Morales assured that he will return to Bolivia “sooner or later”, after the triumph of his personal pick Luis Arce. With Evo Morales returning to Bolivia weaker than before, but undoubtedly still influential it might become difficult for Arce to consolidate his power and keep a hold thereon.
Can Arce do it?
Born to a middle-class family in La Paz, Arce may be a career economist with a master’s degree from Warwick University. As economy minister, he implemented the nationalization of the hydrocarbon, telecommunications, and mining industries in Bolivia, but he also observed fairly strict macro-economic orthodoxy, to the private sector’s satisfaction. He features a more technocratic than political profile. Under his management at the top of the Economy, Bolivia began to grow at an annual rate of 4.9%, and extreme poverty fell from 38.2% in 2005 to 17.1% in 2018, consistent with official figures. In his period, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) skyrocketed from 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2005 to quite 40 billion dollars in 2019. During his tenure, there was a rise in wealth by 5% annually compared to the three average within the region and therefore the country’s debt also decreased. So looking by his credentials, he’s perfectly ready to bring out the required changes required to bring Bolivia out of the ditch. to require the state out of the previous disaster in 2005, Luis Arce built what he calls the social communitarian, productive economic model, supported the nationalization of natural resources and strategic industries, then using those profits to take a position in infrastructure, public services, social benefits for the people. People hope a review of the previous actions during his reign.
In the future MAS government, the task of rapprochement with other political forces and social sectors are going to be entrusted to David Choquehuanca, the vice president-elect. the longer-term president, Luis Arce, on the opposite hand, is going to be responsible for facing the depression. Arce’s win confirms the political heterogeneity that they had germinated within the country, which may be a positive sign. Urban insurrections are continuing in Bolivian national history, the progressive ones also as reactionary ones and therefore the new government must work to reconcile parts of a society split apart by ethnic, social, and regional fractures. Overall, the new government is going to be caught between the favored expectations of a return to relative prosperity, a growing ecological catastrophe tied to a declining economic model, and a variety of social and ideological challenges.