LA PAZ – Bolivians are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect a president, vice president and all the members of Congress for the 2015-2020 period.
The Andean nation’s 4,445 polling places opened at 8:00 a.m. and are scheduled to close at 4:00 p.m.
Some 5.9 million people are eligible to cast ballots in the election, with President Evo Morales the favorite to win a third straight term.
Businessman Samuel Doria Medina, former President Jorge Quiroga, who governed Bolivia from 2001 to 2002, former La Paz Mayor Juan del Granado and Indian politician Fernando Vargas are trying to unseat Morales.
“Bolivia is a democratic country and people” and “it is important” for all citizens to vote, Morales said after casting his ballot in Villa 14 de Septiembre, a city in the central region of Cochabamba.
More than 50,000 police officers and soldiers have been deployed to provide security during the election.
The right to vote for Bolivians living abroad was expanded for this election.
Bolivians living outside the country were first eligible to cast ballots in 2009, but they could only do so in Argentina, Brazil, Spain and the United States.
Voting rights were expanded in this election for Bolivians living in 29 other countries, including Japan, South Korea, China and India.
Some 272,058 expatriates, the majority of them living in Argentina, Spain and Brazil, are eligible to vote in the general elections.