- Title: Bolivia election on a knife-edge as rivals clash over results
- Date: 21st October 2019
- Summary: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (OCTOBER 21, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** GENERAL VIEW OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE CARLOS MESA ARRIVING TO BUILDING WHERE THE SUPREME ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL WAS CONDUCTING VOTE COUNTING MESA SUPPORTER WITH FLAG GENERAL VIEW OF MESA SURROUNDED BY JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE CARLOS MESA SAYING: "Arbitrarily and obviously on the orders of (President) Evo Morales, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has stopped the recounting of votes at 83%. We absolutely know that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has the results of the fast count and we demand that they inform the country. With 100% of the vote, we are very clear that there wouldn't be a possibility of a second round." GENERAL VIEW OF MESA SURROUNDED BY JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE CARLOS MESA SAYING: "This manipulation they are trying to do is to completely block a second round and we will denounce it. And I want to establish here, as the candidate who will face off against Morales in the second round, a call on the Citizens' Community to mobilize, the Civic Committees, the political parties and the National Council for Democracy to be present at all of the electoral tribunals and here at the Supreme Electoral Tribunal." VARIOUS OF MESA SUPPORTERS SHOUTING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE CARLOS MESA SAYING: "The longer it takes to know the final result, the more possibilities exist for manipulation. We are not only worried by this reality that is leading to turning our backs on a second round but also a manipulation (of the votes) can modify the results." MESA SUPPORTERS CHANTING MESA WALKING WITH SUPPORTERS AND JOURNALISTS VARIOUS OF MESA SUPPORTERS CHANTING VARIOUS GENERAL VIEWS OF MEETING BETWEEN THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR DEMOCRACY (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR DEMOCRACY, MANUEL MORALES, SAYING: "All of the organizations that have organized rallies in all of the departments, the civic committees, the political parties, the citizens' platforms and social organizations will determine on Wednesday the measures that we will take to defend our votes from October 20 and the second round in the streets." REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR DEMOCRACY AT TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEAN FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF SAN ANDRES, WALDO ALBARRACIN, SAYING: "Surprisingly, the electoral organism suspended the count, the spokespersons disappear, and they do not offer any explanation to the country. Not even to the international community regarding why the count was suspended. The question is why did they suspend the count." VARIOUS OF WORKERS FOR THE SUPREME ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL SITTING AT THEIR DESKS (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS MANUEL CANELAS SAYING: "Counting is still going on. Regardless, with the results that we already have, the Socialist Movement has won the elections. We are the leading force in the country. We have the guaranteed majority in the senate and the majority of delegates." VARIOUS OF WORKERS OF THE SUPREME ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL WORKING AT THEIR DESKS
- Embargoed: 4th November 2019 19:17
- Keywords: Bolivia election second round vote counting Carlos Mesa
- Location: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- City: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- Country: Bolivia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001B21KMKN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Bolivia's presidential election result was on a knife-edge on Monday (October 21), with a preliminary count suggesting it should go to a second-round run-off, but President Evo Morales insisting that he would secure enough votes in Sunday's first round for an outright win.
The uncertainty sparked fears among observers and diplomats about potential manipulation of the vote to avoid a risky second round, and of unrest that could follow in the landlocked nation, even as nearby Chile and Ecuador grapple with violence on the streets.
Carlos Mesa, Morales' main rival, railed against the government, saying that they were trying to "eliminate the clearly established path" to a second-round vote. He called on the international community and the monitors to ensure the vote remained fair.
"This manipulation they are trying to do is to completely block a second round and we will denounce it," he told reporters and angry supporters gathered at the hotel in La Paz where the electoral board is conducting the count.
Morales was seen leading with 45% of the votes against 38% for Mesa, according to a preliminary count of ballots by Bolivia's electoral board, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). Other pollsters also showed a tight race that would lead to a runoff vote.
Adding to the confusion, the official Cambio newspaper on Monday ran a front-page headline saying Morales had won, securing his fourth successive term.
Late on Sunday, however, the TSE had halted the provisionary count with just 83.76% of the ballot done. That move prompted the official monitor, the Organization of American States (OAS), to demand to know why.
Morales needs over 50% or 40% with a 10-point lead over his closest rival to avoid a risky Dec. 15 second-round runoff. If he wins, Latin America's longest continuous-serving standing leader would extend his rule to 19 years.
(Production: Monica Machicao, Santiago Limachi)
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