Uncertainty in Bolivia’s Election

CGTN / Youtube

Michael Shifter talks to CGTN's Frances Kuo about President Morales's run for a fourth term in Bolivia.

Comments by Michael Shifter: 

“[Morales’] push to run for another term in defiance of a referendum, which he lost, and the country’s constitution is a major issue and a major concern for people. People are also tired. If he wins another term, he would have been in office 20 years – that is a long stretch, and especially young Bolivians want change. The economy is not where it was. Morales presided over a very good economy, saw reductions in poverty for a long time, but the economy is slowing. The economy is a major factor and cause for discontent.”

“We are in uncharted territory, Morales has never had to face such a tight race and it really depends on whether the opposition can unite. If all the parties of the opposition, not only Carlos Mesa who would be his contender, but also if the smaller parties back Mesa then he is going to be in trouble, but that remains to be seen.”

“Carlos Mesa would bring change, he is a modern thinker and former president, so he has had experience. He is much more committed to democratic norms and democratic practices, which has been a major focus of his campaign. I think people were worried that if Morales has another term he would move into a more authoritarian direction. I think Mesa gives a lot more confidence that he is going to respect the constitution and respect the rule of law, and I think that many Bolivians find that appealing.”

“There have been some corruption scandals involving Morales and his government and that has created some real discontent and disenchantment with him. There is a creeping sense of a more authoritarian, more autocratic rule, that many Bolivians don’t like, and people just want a change, but the economy is a big factor in this.”

“Morales has a very positive legacy but he is pushing it, and I think that now that the economy is slowing Bolivians are asking for a change.”

Watch the full interview here

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