- Title: Bolivians vote on extending Evo's rule to nearly two decades
- Date: 20th October 2019
- Summary: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (OCTOBER 20, 2019) (REUTERS) ELDERLY BOLIVIAN WOMAN GATHERING HER VOTING MATERIALS BALLOT BOX ELDERLY BOLIVIAN WOMAN PLACING HER BALLOT INTO BALLOT BOX ELDERLY BOLIVIAN WOMAN PUTTING HER FINGERPRINT ON LIST OF VOTERS, SIGNING DOCUMENT INDICATING THAT SHE HAS VOTED SIGN ON WALL INDICATING VOTING TABLE EXTERIOR OF SCHOOL THAT IS SERVING AS A VOTING CENTRE SCHOOL PLACARD ON WALL INTERIOR OF SCHOOL, VOTERS MILLING AROUND, SOLDIERS ON SITE SOLDIERS STANDING AROUND SPEAKING TO ONE ANOTHER IS VOTING IS UNDERWAY GENERAL VIEW OF INTERIOR COURTYARD AT VOTING CENTRE, VOTERS MILLING AROUND ELECTORAL WORKER WATCHING AS VOTER DROPS BALLOT INTO BOX GENERAL VIEW OF ELECTORAL WORKERS AT TABLE ELECTORAL WORKER HELPING VOTER FIND THEIR TABLE VOTER WAITING FOR INSTRUCTIONS ELECTORAL WORKER HOLDING UP BALLOT TO DEMONSTRATE THAT IT IS BLANK BEFORE PRESENTING IT TO VOTER VOTER RAUL ARTEAGA WALKING UP TO TABLE AND PLACING BALLOT INTO BOX (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) VOTER RAUL ARTEAGA SAYING: "I hope that my vote is respected and not like what happened during the referendum on the 21st of February (2016) because during that vote, I voted 'no' and I feel that my vote was not respected." GENERAL VIEW OF VOTERS STANDING AROUND IN THE COURTYARD ELECTORAL WORKERS COMPARING DOCUMENTS ELDERLY MAN PLACING BALLOT INTO BOX VOTERS STANDING AT TABLE AS ELECTORAL WORKERS HOLDS UP BALLOT TO DEMONSTRATE IT IS BLANK BEFORE PRESENTING IT TO THE VOTER ELECTORAL WORKER WATCHING AS VOTER DROPS BALLOT INTO BOX BALLOT BOX
- Embargoed: 3rd November 2019 13:47
- Keywords: Bolivia election voting President Evo Morales re-election
- Location: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- City: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- Country: Bolivia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001B1WIOG7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Bolivians voted in an election on Sunday (October 20) to decide whether to extend the rule of President Evo Morales to nearly two decades or oust the great survivor of South America's "pink tide" of leftist leaders.
Morales, widely known as just "Evo," is the favourite to win, but it is set to be his toughest race yet since sweeping to power as Bolivia's first indigenous president in 2006. Recent opinion polls show he could win with his weakest ever mandate and may face a risky second round run-off.
In his favour, Morales - a former union leader for coca growers - has overseen a long stretch of political and economic stability for Bolivia, a landlocked country of 11 million people that is the continent's poorest. But support for him has slipped amid slowing economic growth and concerns about government corruption and anti-democratic practices.
Others worry about his extended stay in power. Morales is running in defiance of term limits and despite a 2016 referendum in which Bolivians voted against him being allowed to seek a fourth consecutive term. A local court ruled in his favour to allow him to run anyway. As he did in the 2014 election, he has promised to retire after the five-year term is over.
Morales needs 40% of ballots and a 10-point lead to win outright on Sunday. Polls open at 8 a.m. (1200 GMT) and close eight hours later.
The next president will govern from 2020-2025.
Despite growing disenchantment with Morales, support for the opposition will be divided among eight candidates, all of whom trail him by double digits in a recent poll by Viaciencia.
The leading opposition candidate, Carlos Mesa, a former president who resigned in 2005, has campaigned on a platform of saving Bolivia's democracy from Morales, whom he has portrayed as a power-hungry autocrat.
Morales, whose campaign slogan is "Secure Future," has fanned fears that Mesa would seek support from the International Monetary Fund, and warned about recent unrest in Ecuador and Argentina over unpopular loan deals with the IMF.
(Production: Santiago Limachi, Monica Machicao)
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