During a press conference early Wednesday morning, Evo Morales, the current president of Bolivia and the front-runner in the elections held on Sunday, denounced that a coup process is underway in Bolivia. General elections were held in Bolivia on Sunday October 20 and 6.9 million Bolivians had the opportunity to vote for the next president, vice-president, 36 senators and 130 members of parliament for the 2020-2025 period.
While initial results released on Sunday night indicated that a run-off election between Evo Morales and runner-up Carlos Mesa would be necessary, as votes were processed from the rural regions and internationally the tendency began to shift, with the possibility that Morales would win in the first round. With 96.78% of the official count completed, Morales leads at 46.49% against Carlos Mesa of Citizen Community who has 37.01%. In order for Evo to win in the second round he would need 10% more Mesa.
In the press conference on Wednesday, Evo declared “I have called this press conference to denounce to the Bolivian people and the whole world: There is a process of a coup d’état underway, the right-wing has prepared with international support for a coup d’état…Until now we have humbly put up with, and dealt with it with patience to avoid violence, we have not entered into confrontation and we never will enter into confrontation.”
Since Monday, the Bolivian right-wing has been mobilizing on the streets to reject the results of the elections and alleging that electoral fraud was committed. In several cities across Bolivia, supporters of Carlos Mesa, the Citizen Community party, the Civic Committees and National Committee in Defense of Democracy (Conade) organized actions of violent sabotage to the local offices of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), government buildings and even physically attacked members of the party.
Meanwhile, the Movement Towards Socialism and its leaders, including Morales himself, have called on supporters to be in a state of vigilance and maintain peaceful mobilizations in defense of democracy.
Also on Wednesday October 23, the mission of observers of the Organization of American States announced in a press conference that a second round should be held in the elections in order to calm the protests of the opposition candidate, though according to the votes, it is still not official if there will be a second round.
The OAS had released a statement on Monday October 21 expressing “deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results revealed after the closing of the polls.” In response, the Bolivian government invited the organization to carry out an official audit of the vote counting process for Sunday’s elections.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called on countries to stand up to the coup conspiracy in Bolivia, “The pretension of the sectors of the Bolivian right-wing is to carry out a coup d’état, but the people are conscious [of] the stability of the country,” he stated.
Tensions in Bolivia are likely to rise as all factors indicate that Morales will pull through in a first round victory and the right-wing opposition has vowed to mobilize against this outcome.