Left-wing MAS Leads Voting Intentions In Bolivia

Above Photo: Evo with Andronico Rodriguez

Andronico Rodriguez, member of the Movement to Socialism party (MAS) and considered by many the political heir of ousted president Evo Morales) and right-wing ex-president Carlos Mesa are leading voting intention figures ahead of Bolivia’s next general elections. A recent survey showed as well that coup plotter Luis Fernando Camacho and the president of the Potosi Civic Committee Marco Pumari are decreasing in the polls. For the majority of those polled, de facto President Jeanine Añez should not run as a candidate. The survey was conducted by Mercados & Muestras consulting company for Bolivian local newspaper Pagina Siete. Ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, Evo Morales has confirmed he is going to meet on December 29 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with MAS leaders to start defining the party’s nominations.

Rodriguez, a coca grower and MAS leader is ahead and maintains 23 percent of voting intentions. Mesa, second in the general elections last October, has 21 percent. Bolivia’s next elections will be the first since 2002 without the participation of former president Morales, who is currently in exile in Argentina as a recognized political refugee.

The survey also allowed to define a list of the figures with a better chance to be nominated by MAS. Besides Andronico Rodriguez, other leaders are former Economy Minister Luis Arce; former Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca; current president of the Senate Eva Copa; and former president of the Senate Adriana Salvatierra.

Rodriguez has already been proclaimed candidate by coca growers from the Cochabamba tropic, the leftist party’s political stronghold. “We have to bring the power back to the people and we have to strengthen the youth’s revolutionary spirit in Bolivia. We have to struggle fully aware in the streets and in the social media,” said the 30-years-old leader.

Young people from Bolivia’s United Workers Unions gathering in Cochabamba on December 15 and confirmed their “unconditional support” to Rodriguez, describing him as “a model leader to be followed for his ideology of uniting the country.”  Rodriguez was part of the encounter and the day before he had visited Buenos Aires to meet with Morales.

In turn, former minister Luis Arce said on December 12 that he was ready to run as presidential candidate if the MAS party followers decided so. “I feel honored. I’m a soldier of this process and I’m ready to contribute with maintaining this revolutionary process,” said Arce to Kawsachun Coca radio station.

Former Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, a close ally to Morales during his term in office, was also proclaimed as possible presidential candidate for MAS. His nomination has been supported by peasant organization representatives of the 20 provinces of the La Paz department.

Seven percent of those polled also nominated the MAS president to the Chamber of Senates, Eva Copa, as a candidate. However, MAS hardliners see her as a “traitor” for having negotiated with the de facto Government. Only four percent of those polled saw hardliner senator Adriana Salvatierra as a possible candidate for president on behalf of the leftist party.

Last Saturday, ousted president Evo Morales confirmed a meeting is going to be held in Argentina to define the MAS presidential candidate. In fact, Morales confirmed in his Twitter profile that he is going to meet with MAS leaders to “evaluate and organize the big encounter in which we are going to choose our candidates.” The encounter is expected to be held in Salta, bordering city between Argentina and Bolivia.

The survey also showed that as the former president of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee Luis Fernando Camacho (who has already confirmed his own nomination, as the president of the Potosi Civic Committee and Marco Pumari, who has not yet decided if he will participate, are decreasing in voting popularity. They have 13 and 10 percent, respectively.

Camacho and Pumari’s nominations have decreased in support after an audio was leaked revealing that the two leaders were negotiating their joint participation in elections. In such audio, Pumari requested $250,000 to Camacho and the control of two custom offices to be part of his election ticket.

Finally, president of the de facto Government Jeanine Añez would have nine percent of voting intentions but a vast majority of those polled believe her nomination is not appropriate for the 2020 elections. Bolivia is preparing to hold elections in which neither Morales nor vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera will be allowed to participate. Bolivia’s Supreme Court of Justice has not defined yet the date for the elections, expected for March or May next year.