Bolivia

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Supporting the enabling environment for an informed, transparent, resilient, and inclusive electoral process.


WHY USAID/OTI IS IN BOLIVIA

Amid accusations of electoral fraud in the October 2019 presidential election that triggered sustained protests across the country, President Evo Morales of the MAS (Movement for Socialism) party announced his resignation in a televised address. In November, he left the country for Mexico then Argentina where he resides today.

After resignations from four MAS officials ahead of her, opposition legislator Jeanine Añez became the next in line of presidential succession. The priority of Añez’s transitional government was to hold free and fair elections on the timetable agreed upon by the MAS-controlled Congress. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the first round of voting was scheduled for May 3, 2020. In late March, a few days after the transitional government decreed a national quarantine, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced the need to postpone the elections until they could be held safely. The first round of voting will take place on October 18, 2020, and if a run-off is required, it would take place on November 29, 2020.

USAID/OTI is committed to providing assistance to support a democratic, inclusive, and peaceful electoral process in Bolivia.

USAID/OTI’S ROLE IN BOLIVIA

The USAID/OTI program supports the enabling environment for an informed, transparent, resilient, and inclusive electoral process through:

  • Strengthening the capacity of key stakeholders to articulate positions on important election issues and to connect with their constituencies.
  • Increasing the ability of local organizations to articulate a response to the crises ensuing from the coronavirus pandemic.

After meeting with potential partners in four target cities (El Alto, La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz), the program identified the following inter-related problem sets:

  • Strong regional, socioeconomic, and racial divides between the central and peri-urban areas;
  • Coopted and fragmented social organizations, with parallel leaderships largely divorced from their grassroots constituencies;
  • A structural crisis in the political representation system, with large portions of the electorate perceiving that political parties and social organizations do not represent them; and
  • Mainstream media’s horse race coverage that is contributing to the growing polarization of political discourse and is being further amplified by social media.

The national quarantine has overlaid new forms of disinformation onto Bolivia’s political discourse and has led to protests in areas that have experienced post-electoral conflict. USAID/OTI strengthens local solidarity networks, empowers key constituencies within Bolivian society, and supports the electoral authorities to ensure a peaceful, credible, and inclusive electoral process.

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Last updated: November 09, 2020

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