31 days before the elections, the de facto president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, announced this Thursday night that she is lowering her candidacy for the Bolivian presidential elections: “If we do not unite, Morales will return,” he said.
“Today I put aside my candidacy for the Presidency of Bolivia to take care of democracy. It is not a sacrifice, it is an honor,” said Áñez, candidate of the Alianza Juntos, in a recorded message, the newspaper reported The Digital Times.
Prior to the dissemination of this message, there were intense negotiations with the Citizen Community, the force that nominated Carlos Mesa for the presidency, who ranks second in the voting intention polls, in order to insert candidates in exchange for this support, as it transpired.
The message to the country of the candidate, together with her running mate, Samuel Doria Medina, came a day after a poll that gave her fourth with only 10% voting intention was known.
The senator who assumed the Presidency in a session of the upper house without a quorum, just a few days after then-president Evo Morales resigned after a request from the Police and the Armed Forces, and denounced a coup, explained that he resigned his candidacy “due to the risk that the democratic vote will be divided among several candidates and that as a result of this division the MAS will end up winning the election,” he added.
“I do it to help the victory of those of us who do not want the dictatorship and I do it in homage to the struggle that the Bolivian people have sustained so that the dictatorship leaves forever,” he said in the video lasting more than two minutes. .
“If we don’t unite, Morales will come back. If we don’t unite, democracy loses, ”he said, without mentioning Mesa, the alleged beneficiary of his departure from the electoral stage.
Just one day ago, a group of universities under the name of Tu Voto Cuenta published the survey with the largest sample of both urban and rural populations so far, and the result was a fair victory in the first round for the candidate of the Movement to Socialism ( MAS), the strength of Morales, who was disqualified from running for a senator’s seat.
Morales’ former Minister of Economy, Luis Arce, ranked first with a voting intention of 40.3% and, second, former President Carlos Mesa, with 26.2%. In other words, the Masista candidate would exceed the 40% threshold with a difference of 10 percentage points with the second, as required by law.
Much lower down are the former civic leader of the department of Santa Cruz and one of the great promoters of the protests and violent confrontations that ended with the coup against Morales, Luis Fernando Camacho, with a vote intention of 14.4% and , in fourth place, the current de facto president, with 10.6%.
The survey also showed that the MAS could once again achieve its own majority – or stay very close – in the Senate, a space that proved vital for the party to maintain its institutional framework after the coup.
“We always look carefully at all kinds of surveys, we know that the MAS proposals are the only ones that they propose. We are very confident because when we go to visit places we find wide acceptance, not only by the most depressed sectors of the country, but we speak hidden vote out there, “said Arce today, according to the newspaper Los Tiempos.
Despite the serious epidemiological situation that persists in the country – Bolivia is the second country in the world behind Peru with the most deaths from coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants – the survey confirmed that a large majority of the electoral roll wants to vote.
The great unknown now is where Áñez’s votes will go.
To avoid a MAS victory, at least half should go to Mesa to eliminate the gap of 10 percentage points and force a second round, in which the dispersion of the anti-Masist vote disappears and Arce does not have significant allies to reach 50% .
Áñez was very hard with Mesa until just two weeks ago – “He is in a hiding situation in his house. Now is not a time for lukewarmness; we have to take care of this process that cost the people so much” -, so now he will have to appeal only to anti-Masist and anti-Morales sentiment.
When Áñez had not yet made his announcement but rumors were already multiplying, Mesa was confident of winning and spoke of unity.
“From Santa Cruz we tell MAS that the Citizen Community is going to defeat it at the polls with the help of the popular vote. United we are going to put a stop to fraud and corruption. It is time for a government that puts the people first.” the former president wrote on his Twitter.