Bolivians Vote In Election Expected To Bring Upheaval

Bolivians vote in election expected to bring upheaval

La Paz, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Oct, 2020 ) :Voters expect social upheaval for the second time in a year no matter who wins Sunday's general election in Bolivia.

Polls opened at 8:00 am (1200 GMT) in an election that will not feature former president Evo Morales for the first time in 20 years.

It comes a year after Morales won an unconstitutional fourth term in an election that sparked weeks of protests.

Morales, who resigned and fled into exile, is barred from taking part but his successor as leader of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, Luis Arce, has topped every poll since he was nominated in January.

Tensions have been running high with MAS warning of a pending "fraud" and threatening to protest should they not get their way, while misinformation has been circulating freely.

"Obviously there will be social upheaval ... we just hope it won't last long," Clara Quitalba, 49, from the MAS bastion of EL Alto on the outskirts of La Paz, told AFP.

Last year protests broke out against Morales's victory following a 24-hour halt in the live vote count that saw the incumbent's lead jump dramatically once it resumed.

A later audit by the Organization of American States found clear evidence of fraud.

"Hopefully it will be calm because we don't want to go through what happened last year. It was terrible," said Renata Zapata, 24, in La Paz.

The protests did not end with Morales's exile as his supporters took to the streets in turn.

In total, the unrest left 36 dead and 800 injured.