Listen this article
Although the elections will be held in October 2019, there are already candidates that are ready to confront President Morales
Evo Morales is looking for his fourth consecutive presidential term in Bolivia, but this time, an eventual defeat is a serious possibility. According to a survey conducted from November 17 to 20, 2019 by the Bolivian newspaper Página Siete, the former president and now presidential candidate, Carlos Mesa, has an advantage of five points against Evo Morales. This means that the Bolivians have more intention to vote for Mesa.
There are, until the moment this article was written, six different candidates who will seek to occupy the Casa Grande del Pueblo between 2020 and 2025. Almost all of them have already been involved with the presidential mandate and the general elections in the past. This suggests an urgent generational change in Bolivian politics. Who are they?
The current president has already overcome some restrictions to stand for next year's elections. First, it overcame the constitutional disability of nomination more than two consecutive presidential terms. When the last Bolivian constitution came into effect in 2009, Morales prevented his first government from counting within the constitutional rule and thus could present two more.
In 2016, he called for a referendum that would determine if he could stand for a fourth presidential term. The result showed a division of the electorate and meant the first defeat for Morales in the political arena; 51.3% of the voters said: "No" to the possibility that this would be presented for other elections while 48.7% supported the "Yes". According to the newspaper El País of Uruguay, the president promised to respect the results of the consultation.
However, in November 2017, the Plurinational Constitutional Court (TCP) authorized Morales to present himself without restrictions to the upcoming presidential elections. The TCP explained this decision through the "defense of political rights" on the constitutional precepts.
With this, the current president only needs the support of his political party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS) to make his candidacy firm. MAS ratified Morales as part of the pair that will stand for election, along with Álvaro Garcia Linera, current vice president.
Read also: Honduras: Drug trafficking and presidency?
Jaime Paz Zamora
The former president of Bolivia between 1989 and 1993 and founder of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) launched his candidacy with the controversial proposal to return the country to a federal republic, according to the Bolivian newspaper El Deber. This promise would force a constitutional reform.
It was during his government that a pact was signed between Bolivia and Peru, which granted for 50 years a free zone of 5 square kilometers called "Bolivia-Mar", as well as promoting the advance of neoliberal policies. He is the candidate of the Christian Democratic Party, confirmed in the last hours after the retirement of Samuel Doria of the primary elections.
Jorge Quiroga Ramirez
Quiroga is also a former president of Bolivia. However, according to the weekly El Fulgor, this 58-year-old engineer and business administrator is not taken into account out of his own initiative but is sought in some political sectors to make a coalition that confronts Evo Morales.
Although he has not defined his candidacy, he does call on Bolivian citizens to defend 21F, that is, the referendum of 2016. He came to govern, between 2001 and 2002, because the president at the time, Hugo Bánzer, resigned because of illness. In the 2014 presidential elections, he achieved 9% of the total votes, almost 500 thousand.
Fernando Vargas Mosua
This 54-year-old indigenous leader, president of sub-central TIPNIS (a territory and protected national park), is the candidate for the Green Party, according to the Eju news portal. Vargas is a defender of the ancestral lands that belong to the indigenous peoples. Their proposals are defined by a line of protection for the environment and the transition to clean and renewable energies. In the 2014 presidential elections, it reached 2% of the total votes; almost 140 thousand.
Victor Hugo Cárdenas
According to the newspaper El Deber, the 67-year-old former vice president and professor is the candidate of the Civic Unity for Solidarity and his distinctive is the fight against corruption. Between 1993 and 1997 he was the second of President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada.
At 65 years old, this filmmaker, journalist, and documentalist is emerging as one of the greatest threats to the ambitions of Evo Morales. The Chilean digital newspaper El Mostrador confirms that it has already submitted its candidacy to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. He was president of Bolivia between 2003 and 2005 and also served as vice president between 2002 and 2003. He is a candidate for the Community Citizen alliance, which brings together the movements of Sovereignty and Freedom and the Left Revolutionary Front.
LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández
Translated from: 'Elecciones en Bolivia 2019 ¿Quiénes son los candidatos presidenciales?'