Exit polls suggest that Evo Morales’ party has won the Bolivia presidential elections, a year after being ousted.
According to two private surveys, Luis Arce, the candidate for Morales’ Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), has managed to rake in more than 50 percent of the ballot’s vote on Sunday. Arce previously served as Morales’ finance minister.
Centrist former president Carlos Mesa is trailing behind after securing just 30 percent of the vote.
“We have reclaimed democracy and above all we have reclaimed hope,” Luce said in a public broadcast. “We will govern for all Bolivians … we will bring unity to our country,” said Arce.
Right-wing interim president, Jeanine Áñez, conceded the vote ahead of the release of the official results. “We do not yet have the official count, but the data we do have shows that Mr Arce [has] … won the election. I congratulate the winners and ask them to govern thinking of Bolivia and of democracy,” Áñez tweeted.
In September, Anez announced that she would not be taking part in the country’s election next month. She addressed the nation via video message, citing hopes to unify members of her party against Morales.
That same month, a Bolivian court refused a legal appeal by Morales to run for a Senate position in the October election. The election is a re-run of a voided vote late last year. It was initially rescheduled for May 2020 but was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Luce’s projected win will be a crushing blow for conservatives who were hoping to hold onto power.