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DEMOCRACY was restored in Bolivia today as Luis Arce and the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) won a thumping victory in elections that took place almost a year after a Washington-backed coup.
Exit polls showed Mr Arce with more than 52 per cent of the vote with his nearest rival, rightwinger Carlos Mesa polling just 31.5 per cent.
The result sparked huge celebrations across the country, bringing an end to the rule of a brutal right-wing administration which presided over massacres of indigenous people after the ousting of former president Evo Morales in November 2019.
Speaking just after midnight in the Bolivian capital La Paz, Mr Arce said: “We are going to work, and we will resume the process of change without hate.”
He thanked Bolivians for exercising their right to vote peacefully, despite right-wing forces mobilising the military on to the streets amid reports of violent attempts to disrupt the election.
“We have recovered democracy and hope. We ratify our commitment to work with social organisations. We are going to build a national unity government,” he said.
The Supreme Election Council ruled on Sunday that it would not be announcing preliminary results, a move which led to suspicion of a plot to cast doubt on the verdict and for the right wing to buy some time.
The Morning Star has previously reported on an elaborate scheme using a mobile phone app to manipulate election results developed by Edgar Villegas, who is understood to have been the mastermind of last year’s coup.
MAS spokesman Sebastian Mitchell warned that the delay in announcing results would lead to confusion.
“Election observers do not understand if the absence of information results from inefficiency or if the government is implementing a strategy to win two or three days, generate violence, and justify a military intervention,” he said.
Mr Morales celebrated the victory from Argentina where he has been living in exile, saying the will of the people had spoken.
“There has been a resounding victory for the MAS-IPSP.
“Our political movement will have a majority in both houses. We have returned millions, now we are going to restore dignity and freedom to the people,” he said.
He insisted that he and his government was ousted by imperialists seeking access to Bolivia’s vast lithium resources, with the mineral’s stock set to rise in value as a vital component in new technology, including electric cars.
Accusations of electoral irregularities in last year’s election, which were amplified across liberal media oulets including the Guardian, were subsequently proven to be false.
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