LA PAZ – Bolivia was awaiting the official results of Sunday’s general elections, as exit polls give tipped Luis Arce, of the Movement to Socialism, as the first round’s winner.
After voting took place without incidents and a high voter turnout, uncertainty gripped Bolivians who saw hours go by without the electoral body making the results of the voting known.
After midnight and under pressure from politicians and citizens, it was known that the Ciesmori poll for the television channels Unitel and Bolivision gave 52.4 percent of the votes to Arce, with which he would be the winner by having more 50 percent of the vote.
Next would be Carlos Mesa of the Citizen Community with 31.5 percent, followed by Luis Fernando Camacho of Creemos with 14.1 percent.
The survey of the initiative Tu Voto Cuenta broadcast by the television station Cadena A gives 53 percent of the votes to the MAS candidate, 30.8 percent to Mesa and 14.1 percent to Camacho.
Arce celebrated a victory in La Paz he took for granted, while Evo Morales did so from Argentina when the official vote count was just over 7 percent.
The country’s interim president, Jeanine Añez, acknowledged that although it is not the official count, the victory of MAS looks certain and congratulated its candidates.
Faced with impatience to know the results, the interim president asked citizens and political parties to have “patience” and “maturity” to wait for the official results.
She also thanked citizens, the electoral authorities and security forces for helping to make this day “a peaceful and democratic holiday.”
The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Salvador Romero, stressed that the voting day ended in a “peaceful and participatory” manner, which was what the country needed “to strengthen its democracy.”
After the closure of polling stations, authorities deployed a military and police operation throughout the country to guarantee security until the official results are known.
Bolivians still remember the violent social outbreak that occurred after the controversial elections of 2019, which triggered the resignation of Morales on Nov. 10, who said he was forced out by a coup d’état. His departure created a power vacuum until Añez assumed the government on an interim basis two days later.
Leading hundreds of Bolivians to stock up on food and fuel a few days ago fearing a new crisis, but this situation was quickly dispelled by the same behavior of the voters.
The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) thanked the “Bolivian people for their civic attitude in turning out massively and peacefully to exercise their right to vote.”
“In this context in which the computation is progressing slowly, we reiterate our call for both the public and the different political actors to wait patiently for the official data. The next few days will be crucial for the future of Bolivia,” it said.
The European Union delegation congratulated “the Bolivian people for having participated in a peaceful and participatory electoral day” and called for calm to be preserved while the results are known, to prevent distorting the electoral process.
From Argentina, Morales said he was suspicious about “the rise of the Direpre (Preliminary Results Dissemination system) a few hours before the day of the elections” after “polling companies refuse to publish exit poll results.”
The TSE had already announced it was dispensing with the Direpre, to give priority to the “certainty” of the result over the “impatience” of knowing the count as soon as possible.
A year ago, the Preliminary Results Transmission System (TREP), was questioned for taking almost a day without issuing data and suddenly resuming with a result in favor of Morales.