From Bolivia, Classes for a Profitable Election

First, following the 2019 crisis and the distrust it created in the electoral system, Bolivia has worked to fill the flaws and loopholes in its institutions and processes that had created problems.

The country overtook its electoral court, which was previously occupied by Morales loyalists. This was done with the involvement of various interest groups: The new President of the Tribunal, Salvador Romero, was appointed by Ms. Añez, but only after negotiations between members of the main parties.

In the months leading up to the elections, the tribunal ran a wide-ranging educational campaign that included television, radio, newspaper and social media ads that sought to restore confidence in the electoral system by informing the public of changes .

The campaign assured Bolivians of the security of election papers, explained how to verify the registry, and demonstrated election day security measures to protect against the virus. A series of videos also promoted the idea of ​​voting as an opportunity to unite the country.

“This created trust,” said Naledi Lester, an expert who works with the Carter Center, an election observation group, to evaluate the vote.

Second, the underdog candidate’s approach helped achieve a smooth outcome. Mr Mesa said repeatedly in the run-up to the election that he would accept the count even if he lost – and he admitted the day after the election when it was clear his opponent had a significant lead.

“There was no violence in Bolivia,” said Fernanda Wanderley, who heads the Socio-Economic Institute at Universidad Católica Boliviana, because Mr. Mesa and his supporters lost, “and they accepted that they lost.”

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