Latin America Advisor

Latin America Advisor

A Publication of The Dialogue

What Will Come of the Split in Bolivia’s Ruling MAS Party?

Bolivia’s ruling MAS party is split between supporters of current President Luis Arce and those who back former President Evo Morales (L-R). // File Photo: @LuchoXBolivia and @evoespueblo, both via X.

Bolivia’s supreme electoral court ruled on May 23 that former President Evo Morales is still the leader of the ruling MAS party—reversing the May 5 party congress in which current President Luis Arce’s faction removed Morales. The MAS is split between supporters of Morales and Arce, with both men vying to be the party’s candidate in next year’s election. How and why did the MAS split between Arce and Morales—and how will the party’s division affect Bolivian politics ahead of the elections and beyond? Which of the two leaders enjoys more support within the MAS and among the public? What are the chances that Morales will be able to run legally, and what are his odds of returning to the presidency?

Gonzalo Mendieta, partner at Mendieta Romero & Asociados in Bolivia: “The MAS split because Evo Morales regarded Luis Arce as a mere placeholder. Just months into Arce’s administration, Evo sought unsuccessfully to replace key ministers with members of his inner circle. Apparently, there were also disagreements on how to confront the opposition blamed for the 2019 revolt. Evo was for a fiercer crackdown, while Arce imprisoned former President Jeanine Añez and Governor Luis Fernando Camacho mainly to appease MAS’ radical factions, leaving other leaders untouched. The MAS is at risk of disappearing. To comply with electoral regulations, the party’s congress is to be summoned, but that depends both on the social organizations that Arce controls and on Evo as party leader. Save an unlikely truce, those quarrels will further other politicians’ chances in the 2025 election. The Cochabamba mayor, Manfred Reyes Villa, is…”

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The Inter-American Dialogue publishes the Latin America Advisor every business day for a distinguished membership of informed corporate leaders, scholars, and government officials invested in Latin America’s development and future. The Advisor‘s highly regarded Q&A section covers questions submitted by subscribers themselves. Commentators regularly include heads of state, business leaders, diplomats, economists, analysts, and thought leaders from around the world. Many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies subscribe to the Advisor. To subscribe, click here. For terms and conditions, click here. For more information, contact Gene Kuleta, editor of the Advisor, at gkuleta@thedialogue.org.


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Gene Kuleta

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