Bolivian socialist candidate set to win election outright, rapid count shows


Bolivia’s socialist candidate Luis Arce is set to win the country’s presidential election without the need for a run-off, an unofficial rapid count of the vote indicated, which would usher the leftwing party of Evo Morales back into power.

The quick-count from Ciesmori, released by Bolivian TV channel Unitel, said Mr. Arce had 52.4% of the votes, while Mesa had 31.5%. To win outright, a candidate needs at least 40% of the vote and to beat the runner up by at least 10 percentage points.

After governing Bolivia for nearly 14 years, Morales eventually quit in the wake of the fraught 2019 election, which sparked bloody protests.

The election is likely to set Bolivia’s political course beyond Morales, the socialist indigenous leader whose shadow still looms large over the country, despite him living in exile in Argentina since the fraught vote last year.

“This is a fundamental moment in the history of our country,” one of the main candidates, centrist former president Carlo Mesa, said as he cast his vote in La Paz on Sunday.

In pre-election polls Mesa had been in second place behind Luis Arce from Morales’ socialist party, though polls then had suggested a second round run-off would be needed.

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