Bolivian President Jeanina Áñez addressed the nation after polling stations closed across the country. The president assured that the day was carried out in peace and cleanly. “We are going to have credible results, but you have to be patient,” he said.
“We have had a peaceful and democratic holiday, I want to thank the citizens, the electoral authorities, the Police and the Armed Forces, who have contributed to social peace, I ask that we continue like this,” said Ánez.
“I want to ask political parties and all citizens for three specific things: patience, we must all have patience to wait for the results without generating any type of violent events. I assure you we are going to have credible results, let’s be patient, “he said.
The second request of the president was to comply with the law with maturity and, finally, the third request was “to remember that before anything else, we are all Bolivians, we must bear in mind at all times that, regardless of our differences, we are all Bolivians That is why we must all build a united, democratic and peaceful Bolivia ”.
While some Bolivians are still voting – as long as there is only one voter in the queue, the tables must remain open- The uncertainty grows for how long the official results will take.
Defense Minister Luis Fernando López spoke along the same lines as Áñez: “We beat the violent, those who wanted chaos, Bolivia was much more than chaos and violence and it is something to make us proud of.” However, he announced that the military and police will continue to be deployed until the electoral process continues and ends. He announced that in the next few hours they will meet at the San Jorge residence with President Jeanine Añez to make an evaluation and wait for the preliminary results and then continue working.
He explained that everything went according to plan with the Armed Forces, Bolivian Police and other institutions, and stated that what has been experienced in Bolivia is what he expected, a fraternal hug, a frank look and the exercise of a true democracy in a calm way and peaceful.
he polling stations in Bolivia began to close at 5:00 p.m. local time (9:00 p.m. GMT) after nine hours of voting in the general elections that are held this Sunday in the country.
The day has passed in an atmosphere of tranquility in the country, with long lines in some venues, especially in the morning and around noon, due to the biosecurity measures required to avoid contagion of covid-19. One of the places with the greatest congestion for voting was the Franco-Bolivian school in La Paz, where rows of voters were observed in various streets seeking access to the more than forty tables set up in that establishment. “This is a school where many people always vote, but I have seen a lot more than other elections,” said Ximena Machicado, a delegate from one of the political parties participating in the election.
Machicado told Efe that many people’s eagerness to vote exceeded the recommendations to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, since some voters “have not kept their distance” and others have waited hours to vote.
The voting tables must work for at least nine hours and remain open if there are still people in line according to the regulations, recalled the president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Salvador Romero, at a press conference in the afternoon .
As he did at noon, Romero highlighted the “atmosphere of tranquility” that has prevailed in the day and urged “that this attitude be maintained in the following phases” which include the vote count, a process “that is open to any citizen ”.
The president of the electoral body said that in the next few hours the computation of the minutes will be installed in the departmental courts and that at the same time the computer system is “opened” in which any person can verify the results of the processed minutes. “The instruction of the TSE is that this work must advance uninterruptedly and from the arrival of the first report, the calculation must begin and it must not be suspended while there are minutes,” he remarked.
Voting abroad has followed the same normality as in Bolivia, with the closure of voting tables in Asia and Europe and now the counting of votes abroad will begin, he added.
Bolivia repeats this Sunday the general elections canceled a year ago amid allegations of fraud in favor of the reelection of the then president, Evo Morales, which are criminally investigated and which he denies. Some 7.3 million Bolivians were called to the polls, in the country and abroad to decide between five candidates.
Voting is mandatory for residents of Bolivia, but not for those living abroad.
Former Minister Luis Arce, from Evo Morales’ Movement to Socialism (MAS), and former President Carlos Mesa were favorites, with the possibility of contesting a second round that would have to be held next November if neither reaches sufficient percentages to win the win in first. To win in the first round, you need more than 50% of the votes or 40% with 10 points of difference with respect to the second. If there is a ballot, it would be November 29