Win for the left in Bolivian vote

After almost a year of an unelected right-wing government backed by the US, the people of Bolivia have voted to remove the coup regime.

Exit polls showed the Movement For Socialism (MAS) presidential candidate Luis Arce, the former minister of economy and public finance, had won the presidency with more than 50 per cent of the vote.

MAS is the party of Evo Morales who became the first indigenous president of the country in 2006.

Last year a right-wing coup backed by the police and the army—supported by the US—ousted Morales and forced him into exile.

Morales won his presidency on the back of mobilisations of mainly indigenous people in the early 2000s.

In power the administration granted more rights to indigenous people and cut poverty. But many were unhappy with his increasing closeness to agribusiness and energy multinationals

Morales had been wrongly accused of election fraud by the Organisation of American States who demanded another election. He agreed to hold another vote but was still forced out.

In his place, conservative senator Jeanine Anez—who once described indigenous people as “satanic”—took over. She was backed by Trump in the US.

In the almost 12 months of the Anez administration supporters of MAS have faced persecution.

But mass protests undermined Anez. In August coup opponents dynamited Andean passes, scattered boulders across highways and dug trenches along rural roads. Sanitation workers in the city of Cochabamba led protests with what were described as “flaming brooms”.

Although coup leaders were able to delay the election, the protests meant they could not avoid it entirely.

But this is far from the end of the struggle. The right will be seething at the election result and will seek further chances to assault the left.

The Bolivian people are showing that they firmly reject the right wing coup in their country in their continued support for MAS.

But only the mass mobilisation of workers outside parliament can win lasting change.

By Sophie Squire

Socialist Worker UK

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