A record 5.13 million Bolivians are registered to vote in the coming elections of December 6th when President Evo Morales will attempt his re-election. However the electoral battle in concentrated in having control over the Legislative.
According to Bolivia’s Electoral Court, CNE, the 5.13 million is 1.3 million higher than the 3.8 million registered to vote in last January’s referendum when the new constitution was confirmed.
This is the first time Bolivians living overseas will be able to vote and 169.000 have registered, mostly from Brazil, Spain, United States and Argentina. The Bolivian population totals 10 million.
The new electoral registry, which was started last August, was agreed by the administration of President Morales and the opposition as part of a greater accord to hold elections in December when the Executive and all Legislative benches will be at stake.
The latest public opinion polls are indicating that President Morales will manage an easy re-election (52%) while his party Movement towards Socialism, MAS, has great chances on ensuring control in both houses of the Plurinational Assembly, the new name for Congress.
However President Morales is calling on voters not to appeal to the so called “cross-ballot” which means Bolivians can cast a vote for a “uninominal Deputy” who responds to special groups such as indigenous organizations and not MAS, while supporting Morales for president.
Morales who is intent in ensuring a clear two thirds majority in both houses has gone as far as calling “traitors” those who appeal to the “crossed ballot”. In campaign he has recalled that many bills approved by the Lower House where MAS has a clear majority have stumbled in the Senate under opposition control.
“This way you are only threatening our chances of achieving a clear majority in the Senate. Whoever proposed the crossed ballot is wrong: I would say they are traitors to this crucial process of fundamental changes”, said Morales who called on his followers to vote for the whole MAS slate (President, Deputies and Senators).
Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous elected president and has implemented radical changes in the country’s Constitution granting greater powers to the majority indigenous population.
However Antonio Costas CNE president in a press conference said that the “crossed ballot” is one of many options voters have. “Citizens have a right to choose who they want for president, vice-president, deputies and senators”.