LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales has celebrated his apparent reelection with a speech dedicating the triumph to Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and all “anti-imperialist” governments of the world.
According to exit polls and quick surveys by the Bolivian media late Sunday, Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera won the election with around 60 percent of the votes.
Final, official results are expected later.
“This victory is dedicated to Fidel Castro, dedicated to Hugo Chavez, may he rest in peace, to all anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist presidents and governments,” Morales proclaimed to supporters gathered in the Plaza Murillo outside his official residence.
Morales was confident of his victory as historically in Bolivia the post-vote exit polls are fairly accurate.
“Homeland yes, colony no!” Morales and his supporters shouted in unison. It will be his third five-year mandate and is to end in 2020.
For the first time in history, Morales was tipped to win in the prosperous department of Santa Cruz, a former autonomous stronghold.
According to Morales, his party, Movement Towards Socialism, clearly won eight of the nine departments.
Opponent Samuel Doria Medina was expected to win only one department in the Amazon region of Beni and garnered 25 percent of the vote nationwide.
Morales, who has been governing Bolivia since 2006, made a slip by calling on his followers to “look forward to” nine more years, although he then corrected himself and said that it would be five years.
Morales also addressed the opposition, asking it to work together with him for the good of Bolivia.
“For Bolivia we endure with patience ... we call on the (opponents) to join, to work. They have the right to disagree, but above that is our beloved Bolivia,” he added.