Explainer: Presidential Candidates in Bolivia’s 2020 Special Elections

Paola Nagovitch | AS/COA

Jeanine Áñez. (AP)

Updated February 25, 2020—Bolivia’s October 20 elections need no introduction. The Andean country held the news spotlight as a result of the controversial presidential election in which incumbent Evo Morales emerged as the winner after a nearly 24-hour vote count freeze. Amid concerns of election fraud, protests broke out across the country. After a preliminary Organization of American States (OAS) election audit found evidence of voting irregularities and manipulation, Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera stepped down on November 10 after the head of Bolivia’s military called for their resignation. 

As Morales zigzagged across Latin America to reach asylum in Mexico, then-vice president of the Senate and opposition leader Jeanine Áñezoriginally fifth in the line of succession— declared herself interim president in the wake of several resignations, a move Bolivia’s Constitutional Court later affirmed. After the country’s legislature passed a law annulling the October results, a date for special do-over elections was set for May 3. A runoff is scheduled for June 14 if no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the vote or secures at least 40 percent with a 10-point margin over the closest competitor. Election proceedings will be monitored by the OAS, the European Union, and the United Nations. 

Bolivians will elect a president, vice president, and all the members of the legislative assembly—36 senators and 130 deputies. There are eight presidential candidates, four running on coalition tickets and four with individual parties. The winning ticket will serve for the 2020–2025 term. Voting is compulsory in Bolivia, and voter turnout hit nearly 90 percent in the October election with over 5.8 million people casting ballots.

Candidates were required to register by February 3. AS/COA Online profiles the candidates.

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