Jeanine Anez, Bolivia’s quasi dictator since last year’s coup against elected President Evo Morales, has crashed out of the country’s upcoming 18 October election after being projected to receive only 5% of the vote in a recent nation wide poll.
Anez said in her announcement that she was withdrawing “to ensure there is a winner who defends democracy”, which many have labelled ironic given she was installed as ‘interim president’ in a military coup following Morales’ victory in last year’s election.
Meanwhile, the Morales-aligned MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) candidate Luis Acre is projected to potentially win the presidency in the first round with 38.5% of the vote. Under Bolivian electoral law, in the event that no candidate obtains more than 50% of the vote, the front runner can still win outright in the first round if they have a 10% or higher lead over their nearest challenger.
Given that Mr Acre’s closest rival according to the poll is former President Carlos Mesa, on 12.9% of the vote, on paper MAS could sweep back into power with ease.
Unfortunately for MAS however this volatile political situation is not being fought on paper. Far right paramilitary leader, Luis Camacho currently sits third in the polls, with his share of the vote likely to increase after his main right wing rival Ms Anez has withdrawn. This coupled with the reports of violent attacks from far right paramilitaries on MAS canvassers ratchets up the tension in the build up to October’s already tense election.
MAS, trade unions, indigenous groups and other working class organisations will have to be ready to face the seemingly inevitable violence on the streets that far right thugs would pursue in the likely event of a MAS electoral victory.