Luis Arce promises to ‘rebuild’ Bolivia after huge election win

Michael Eisner

Leftist leader Luis Arce promised to “rebuild” Bolivia in the wake of a tumultuous year scarred by political turmoil and the coronavirus pandemic, after securing a landslide victory in the Andean nation’s presidential election.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced on Friday, Arce won 55 percent of the votes against six rivals on the ballot, easily avoiding the need for a run-off, and providing vindication for the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party of former President Evo Morales who was ousted last year and now lives in exile.

“Now our great challenge is to rebuild our homeland in peace, to regain joy, stability and hope for a better tomorrow for all Bolivians,” Arce said on social media in response to the final result, with a video of his support around the country.

“We won’t let down the trust that people have placed in us.”

Salvador Romero, the head of Bolivia’s electoral authority, said in a press conference late on Friday that there had been a huge turn-out despite COVID-19.“With 88 percent participation, Bolivians set the second highest record in our history and one of the highest in Latin America in the 21st century,” he told reporters.

“This affirms how people want to live in peace and with institutions that fulfil their mission, and rejected the ominous predictions of confrontation and violence.”

Arce’s main rival, centrist former President Carlos Mesa trailed in second with just under 29 percent of the vote.

Conservative Luis Fernando Camacho, one of the leaders of the protest movement that helped drive Morales out of the country a year ago, received only 14 percent of the vote.

“The election is done,” Mesa wrote on Twitter. He added his congratulations to Arce for the win, which had been clear since the start of the week, but not officially confirmed.

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