Bolivia’s interim president, Jeanine Áñez, has withdrawn from the presidential election scheduled for October 18. The announcement was made Thursday night and justified by the need to defeat Luís Arce, from the party of former president Evo Morales.
“Today, I put aside my candidacy for the presidency of Bolivia, in the name of democracy,” Áñez said. “If we are not united, Morales will come back. If we are not united, democracy loses, ”added the interim president, without revealing the candidate he will support now that he is out of the race.
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After disputed elections in October 2019, Evo Morales, of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, left the Bolivian presidency, a position he had held since 2006, and was replaced by right-wing Senator Jeanine Áñez, supported by soldiers, who demanded the withdrawal of Morales.
The former president has been in exile since the end of last year in Argentina. Presidential elections were originally scheduled for May, but were postponed to September and later to October.
A month before the elections, and in a drop in the polls, Jeanine Áñez abdicated the candidacy, the day after her appearance in fourth place with only 10% of the voting intentions in a poll carried out by the Jubileo Foundation.
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Luis Arce, of MAS by Evo Morales, is the favorite to win, with 40% of the voting intentions, followed by former president Carlos Mesa, who has the support of 26% of the electorate, and the conservative Luis Fernando Camacho , which boosted protests against Morales at the end of last year, with 14.4%.
According to Bolivian law, to win in the first round, the candidate with the most votes does not need to obtain more than 50% of the votes: it is enough that he has more than 40% and an advantage of ten points of percentage on the finalist. A scenario which, according to the investigation of the Jubileo Foundation, would give the victory to Luis Arce, former Minister of the Economy of Evo Morales.
With Áñez’s abandonment, the right-wing vote will become less fragmented and the MAS candidate’s chances of first-round victory will become more difficult.