News Release

Bolivia: Nearly One Year After Coup, Democracy, and the Left, Appears to Triumph


Field is author of several books on Bolivia and U.S.-Latin American relations, and is media contact for the Academics for Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean delegation of scholars currently in Bolivia to observe the elections. The officially accredited delegates include Bolivia experts with years of on-the-ground experience, as well as experts in U.S.-Latin American relations, and they come from the academic fields of anthropology, Latin American studies, and history. They note: “Bolivia’s 2019 elections, and the role of the Organization of American States in observing and auditing them, were highly controversial (see these reports from The New York Times and the Washington Post). This prompted academics in ADLAC to join as observers and help ensure the elections are free and fair, as well as to document any irregularities, voter suppression, or other issues they may encounter.”

JAKE JOHNSTON, via Dan Beeton, @ceprdc

Johnston is a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He co-authored an 82-page report debunking claims of fraud in the OAS’s final audit report on Bolivia’s 2019 elections and showed how the OAS’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud helped to pave the way for the November 2019 coup that ousted democratically elected president Evo Morales two months before his current term had ended.

Johnston contributed to CEPR’s live blogging of the Bolivian elections yesterday, where he wrote: “De facto president Jeanine Anez has posted a message on Twitter congratulating Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca [of Morales’s Movement Toward Socialism party] on their apparent victory in today’s election.

“Just after midnight, Unitel reported results of its quick count, conducted by Ciesmori. These are unofficial results from a private company, the official results are still processing and will take days. Nevertheless, the results of the quick count show Luis Arce of the MAS party receiving 52.4 percent of the vote and Carlos Mesa of the [Civic Community] party receiving 31.5 percent of the vote. [The leading candidate must obtain at least 40 percent of the vote and a 10-point margin over the next runner-up in order to achieve a first-round victory.] …

“In a surprise last-minute announcement, Bolivia’s electoral authorities, the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE), [had] said that there will not be a preliminary count on election night.

“It is interesting to note that allegations of electoral fraud in last year’s vote focused predominantly on the non-binding preliminary results system. In the OAS’s audit of the election, the vast majority of findings related to the [preliminary count]. In March, CEPR published 82-page report detailing myriad errors in the OAS’s audit. One critique was that the OAS focused on a legally non-binding preliminary vote count. That the OAS would now ratify the decision to stop the preliminary system all together is yet another indication that allegations of fraud in last year’s vote were unsubstantiated.”