News Release

Is the OAS Interfering in the Bolivian Election?

The Center for Economic Policy Priorities (CEPR) recently released a statement scrutinizing the Organization of American States’ claims about the recent election in Bolivia.

CEPR’s co-director, Mark Weisbrot states: “The OAS statement implies that there is something wrong with the vote count in Bolivia … but it provides absolutely no evidence — no statistics, numbers, or facts of any kind — to support this idea.

The Washington Post reports that President Evo Morales’s opponent, Carlos Mesa, said “the opposition would continue to mobilize ‘until we achieve a path that leads to the exit of Evo Morales from the presidency in January 2020.’”

CEPR notes that Bolivian constitution says that if a presidential candidate receives over 40 percent of the vote and a 10-point margin of victory over the runner-up there is no need for a second round. (Contact: Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net)

ANDRÉS ARAUZ, [in Mexico City] andres.arauz at comunidad.unam.mx, Skype: andres.arauz, @ceprdc
Arauz is a former Ecuadorian central bank official and a PhD candidate at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. As a senior research fellow with the Center for Economic and Policy Research he has been analyzing the election returns since they first began to be reported on election night.

He said today: “The OAS is interfering in Bolivia’s elections process without explanation or justification. The OAS admitted in its preliminary report that it was possible for Morales to be elected in the first round, but said there should be a second round anyway. They’re saying in effect that Bolivian law doesn’t matter; the results were too narrow for their taste, so they wanted a second round.

“It was always possible and in fact probable for Evo Morales to win in the first round based on the rapid results at 84 percent. Yet a narrative quickly emerged saying the opposite.

“The attacks on the election’s credibility have it backwards: it’s the official count that matters; it’s the one done carefully and with full transparency, with all the tally sheets made available online for anyone to examine. This count has been made available the whole time, but the OAS the Bolivian opposition, and a lot of media reports have all but ignored the official count.

“The rapid count shouldn’t even be part of the story now that the full official count is completed and all the information is public. But confusion over the nature of the rapid count results and the process led to a lot of incorrect information in media reports and elsewhere, all to the detriment of Morales, his MAS party, and the election authority.”