Evo Morales’ party defeated in local Bolivia elections

La Paz, Apr 12 (EFE).- The governing Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), headed by former President Evo Morales, was defeated in the gubernatorial races in four Bolivian provinces in Sunday’s second electoral round, according to preliminary results that on Monday indicate that opposition party candidates handily prevailed in those races.

Voters in La Paz, Tarija, Pando and Chuquisaca provinces were once again called to the polls on the weekend since no candidate there had obtained more than 50 percent of the votes – or more than 40 percent with a 10-point margin over the second-place candidate – in the regional elections on March 7.

Sunday’s elections – the “most complex election cycle” in Bolivian history, as characterized by Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) president Salvador Romero – concluded this electoral round, defining in the process a new electoral “map” for the landlocked country.

At 10 am on Sunday, voter turnout had already exceeded 50 percent in the four provinces in question.

In La Paz province, Santos Quispe, with the Jallalla alliance, was in the lead with 59.3 percent of the vote, significantly ahead of Franklin Flores, of MAS, with 40.67 percent.

Oscar Montes, with the Unidos for Tarija party, was ahead of MAS’s Alvaro Ruiz in that province with 58.68 percent of the votes.

Damian Condori Herrera, with Chuquisaca Somos Todos, was also out in front of MAS candidate Juan Carlos Leon in Chuquisaca province with 66.9 percent of the vote.

And in Pando province, Regis Richter, with the Movimiento Tercer Sistema (MTS), was ahead of Miguel Becerra, with MAS, with 58.54 percent of the votes.

MAS had been hoping to win at least three of the gubernatorial races in these runoff elections, having obtained victories in the first round only in Cochabamba, Oruro and Potosi provinces.

Meanwhile, in Santa Cruz province former presidential candidate Luis Fernando Camacho, with the opposition Creemos party, won the contest, while in Beni province Alejandro Unzueta, with MTS defeated his opponents.

Election day on Sunday was marked by low voter turnout despite the fact that voting is obligatory in Bolivia, but according to the TSE chief this is “normal” in runoff elections in the South American country.

The new regional governors and municipal leaders are scheduled to take office on May 3.

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