The first survey that was carried out after the accusations of the interim Government of Bolivia to former President Evo Morales for rape showed a drop in the intention to vote for his party’s candidate, Luis Arce. However, the candidate of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) remains in the first place in the race, well ahead of the second, former president Carlos Mesa . The current president, Jeanine Áñez, also a candidate, remains in third place, although she has lost accessions, it is believed that because of the health and economic crisis that the country is going through.
The poll presented by the largest television network in the country, Unitel, gives Arce, from MAS , 26.2% of the votes. In March, the same pollster assigned it 33.3%. Between one measurement and another, two events occurred that, it is considered, eroded adherence to his party, out of power since the overthrow of Morales in November but still very powerful in Bolivia. The unions linked to the MAS organized roadblocks to reject the postponement of the elections from September 6 to October 18by the Electoral Tribunal, which adduced health reasons. These blockades delayed the arrival of oxygen to hospitals with COVID-19 patients, which is why they were considered “criminals” by the other political parties and received criticism from international human rights organizations. The unions were forced to suspend their mobilization without achieving what they wanted.
The second event occurred within the framework of an investigation against Morales for alleged terrorism. The Áñez Administration detained a 19-year-old woman who had photographs and WhatsApp conversations with the former president and who, according to the Police, claimed to be his girlfriend since last May. The authorities maintained that the relationship had begun years before, when the young woman was a minor, and they leaked the photos to the press. The Government later presented two accusations of rape (consensual but legally prohibited relationship of an adult with a minor) against Morales. The former president attributed the accusations to the electoral war. The young woman sent a letter to the Ombudsman where she assured that her statement was forced by the Police, which the Executive denied.
Analysts assumed that these accusations would cause damage to the MAS formula and this has been the case, although now it is disputed whether this latest survey, which was carried out by telephone due to the pandemic, is comparable with the previous ones, carried out in person. Some experts say that this method is preferable to investigate a population that, like the Bolivian, has high levels of poverty and disorderly access to communication technologies.
Carlos Mesa, who has carried out a cautious campaign, is second, with 17.1%, and is the one that has decreased the least -one percentage point- since March. Áñez, on the other hand, has lost 6.5 points and has 10.4% of the voting intention. The survey shows a high percentage of undecided (16.6%), as well as white and null (9.3%). Taking these numbers out of the final calculation, as per legal provisions is done in Bolivian political statistics, Arc appears with 37.3% of valid votes and Mesa, with 24.2%. To win in the first round, a match must have 40% valid votes and a difference of more than 10 percentage points with the second. Otherwise, a tiebreaker is held that, according to this same survey, Arce would lose to Mesa (35%, compared to 40% for the former president).
The results of this poll have revived, in social networks and the media, the demands that parties with fewer prospects support the candidate best positioned to face the MAS, that is, Carlos Mesa. However, Áñez’s resignation in favor of Mesa is unlikely because, at the same time that she is running for the presidency, her party is fighting a battle with Luis Fernando Camacho, leader of last year’s protests against Morales, for control. from the department of Santa Cruz. Camacho ranks first in this region, the richest and least indigenous in the country, and this is enough for him to rank fourth in the national survey, with 6.7%.