The voting centers in the Bolivian elections closed this afternoon after a day in which they were paid without major inconveniences, but for which a long count is expected due to the fact that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) announced that it will not use the preliminary recount system for counting votes.
“We have had a quiet day throughout the country so far,” said Deputy Minister of Citizen Security Wilson Santamaria in a statement. Overseers from Copppal and Parlasur also highlighted that Election day passed calmly.
The TSE of Bolivia announced that it will not use the system of preliminary results for the vote count so as not to generate “uncertainty” in the population and only official data will be used. The result of the elections, where Luis Arce of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) is the favorite candidate, will not be known during Sunday night.
The president of the TSE, Salvador Romero, reported that “due to responsibility to the country” it was decided not to use the Preliminary Results Dissemination system (Direpre), since they do not want to generate uncertainty in Bolivians in a “highly polarized climate.”
“On Sunday night we will not have the official and final result. This is going to take us a few additional hours and it is important that citizens have patience because the result will be reliable, (albeit) a little slower“Romero said.
In the presidential election last year, there were irregularities with the vote count. The scrutiny in mining centers such as those of Siglo XX, Llallagua and other towns far from urban centers where the indigenous vote is strengthened, had to be reviewed by the TSE after shock groups called by opponents of the Morales government tried to prevent the counting the original peasant vote and ignoring the results.
This time, Romero gave a press conference in La Paz and explained that he was looking for a system to disseminate preliminary results that are “close” to the official result, but “when there is no certainty and sufficient volume of information,” it is better remove that counting form.
“In such a way that we are certain that this result will be similar to the final one, it is preferable to dispense with the preliminary results”, said Romero and stressed that in this way will “have a result without an iota of doubts”.
Furthermore, he argued that the population may be present at the vote count, can photograph the minutes prepared by the electoral juries, while the political delegates can have a copy and The results in the computer system may be verifiable minute by minute, including the photograph of the minutes and the transcription of the results.
“The objective of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal is to have a calculation that is safe for all citizens, safe for competing political organizations and that the results are reliable,” said the president of the electoral body.
Reactions to the decision
Evo Morales criticized the TSE’s decision Through his Twitter account: “It is highly worrying that @TSEBolivia decides to suspend the Preliminary Results Dissemination (Direpre) system at election time. This last minute decision raises questions about his intentions“.
In the elections this sunday the candidates are Luis Arce of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) -part of former president Evo Morales-, former president Carlos Mesa Citizen Community (CC) and the former mayor of Santa Cruz de la Sierra Luis Fernando Camacho, who leads the We Believe Alliance and represents the most radical and anti-Masist right wing.
Upon learning of the TSE resolution, Mesa affirmed that he understands “the reasons why this decision was made, opting for the reliability, certainty and security of the official results”, while Camacho criticized that the actions of the electoral body “irremediably violate” the principle of transparency.
For its part, international observers expressed their support for the TSE. La OEA, the Carter Center and the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations (Uniore) highlighted in a bulletin that the measure “privileges certainty and seeks to avoid jeopardizing the correct dissemination of the results.”
The Catholic Church, the European Union and the United Nations maintained that the TSE “guarantees the dissemination of results with certainty through the official computer system.”
According the surveys, Arce is the favorite to be the winner in these elections with more than 44 percent of the votes. Further behind are Mesa with 34 and Camacho with 15 percent. If the MAS candidate does not exceed 40 percent, he must go to the ballot on November 29.