A cocalero leader and a string of former ministers, the aspirants to succeed Morales in the MAS

Organizations related to the MAS bet on David Choquehuanca and Andrónico Rodríguez for the presidential tandem


The Movement To Socialism (MAS) of former Bolivian President Evo Morales will elect this Sunday the tandem that will compete for the Presidency and Vice Presidency in the elections of May 3, among which former Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca and the cocalero leader stand out Andrónico Rodríguez.

Bolivia is plunged into a serious political crisis since the presidential elections of October 20. Morales, who aspired to a fourth term, was proclaimed winner, but the opposition denounced a “gigantic fraud” that the Organization of American States (OAS) came to confirm by detecting “irregularities” in the electoral process.

A cocalero leader and a string of former ministers, the aspirants to succeed Morales in the MAS
A cocalero leader and a string of former ministers, the aspirants to succeed Morales in the MAS

Morales resigned on November 10, ending his thirteen years of government, and left for Mexico, where he was almost a month isolated, before moving to Argentina, where he will remain as a refugee with many of his former collaborators, including its vice president, Álvaro García Linera.

The indigenous leader considers himself a victim of a “coup d'etat” because he resigned after the Armed Forces and the Police suggested it. Consequently, it does not recognize the Government of Jeanine Áñez, who has taken the reins on an interim basis.

More than 30 people died in the clashes that occurred in those days between supporters and detractors of Morales and with the security forces. The new Executive has denounced the former president for sedition and terrorism in Bolivian courts and for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The new authorities are based on a telephone conversation in which Morales recommends one of his followers to besiege the cities to propitiate the fall of the new Government and its return. La Paz and El Alto were virtually paralyzed.

After a strong instability, finally the MAS and the allies of Áñez in Congress reached an agreement to hold a new election on May 3, although they expressly prohibited Morales and Álvaro García Linera from being candidates, so the leftist leader has limited to directing the MAS campaign from Buenos Aires.

As part of this electoral process, the MAS will hold a primary election to designate its aspirants to the Burned Palace, the first in which Morales – who won the nationally held in 2019 with a 35 percent vote – no will participate in more than 20 years.


Morales himself has been preparing with his statements the list of 'presidents', among which coca and indigenous leaders, former ministers and women, although the names are almost decided.

He has pointed directly to the coca grower leader Andrónico Rodríguez; to former Foreign Ministers Diego Pary and David Choquehuanca; former Minister of Economy Luis Arce; and Senator Adriana Salvatierra. “Everyone has their own quality,” he said.

The Unity Pact, which brings together social organizations of indigenous people, farmers, trade unionists and women, all related to the MAS, has opted for Choquehuanca and Rodríguez as candidates for president and vice president, respectively.

“Brother David Choquehuanca has been defined as president and, as vice president, brother Andrónico Rodríguez. It is a decision of all organizations,” Teodoro Mamani of the Unity Pact announced last Thursday.

Of all the nominees the only surprise has been Rodriguez. It sounds like Morales's potential political heir for a long time because he has a very similar profile but no such rapid rise was expected, given that the former president had been in command for another five years.

With only 30 years is the vice president of the Coordinator of the Six Federations of Cocaleros del Trópico, trade union organization from which Morales emerged. These days, he has been willing to take on the challenge, admitting that “self-criticism” must be done but determined to defend the “great successes” of recent years.

Choquehuanca, meanwhile, has always been in the pools. Like Morales, he is an Aymara indigenous who began in the peasant union struggle. In 2006 he was appointed Foreign Minister, a position he held until 2017, when he became Secretary General of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), where he continues.

Pary is a figure similar to Choquehuanca. Quechua indigenous, also linked to peasant unions, although to a lesser extent, dedicated himself to his studies of Pedagogy, so he has a more academic profile. He has been with Morales since his first Government and, before occupying the Foreign Ministry, he represented Bolivia in the OAS.

Maple, on the other hand, stands out for its technical solvency. He has been the Minister of Economy of Morales practically throughout his stay at the Burned Palace, except for a parenthesis of a year and a half. From the international community he is pointed out as the architect of the economic miracle of Bolivia.

Salvatierra, meanwhile, is the only woman in the race for the presidential nomination of the MAS. Like Rodriguez has had a meteoric career. At 30, she was the president of the Senate until Morales resigned, which was followed by her. If it had been maintained, the interim Presidency of the country could have fallen on it.

This weekend's primaries are an accelerated succession for which Morales, who came to confess that “it took his sleep away” not to have a clear dolphin, and the MAS had not yet been prepared.

However, the main advantage of whoever is elected as the presidential candidate of MAS is that he will not have a clear opposition. Áñez has assured that he will not compete at the polls and among the detractors of Morales the initial idea of ​​launching a consensus candidacy has not taken shape.

Carlos Mesa and Chi Hyun Chung, who participated in the elections on October 20, have announced that they will repeat, while the heads of the civic committees of Santa Cruz and Potosí, Luis Fernando Camacho and Marco Antonio Pumari, have agreed to go together as candidates to the Presidency and the Vice Presidency, respectively.

The last to join the list of presidential candidates has been Jorge 'Tuto' Quiroga, who already ruled Bolivia briefly between 2001 and 2002. In the context of the political crisis he resurfaced as the presidential delegate of Áñez to the international community, although he has decided Follow your own path.

The interim president warned Quiroga, in an extendable message to the rest of the candidates, that “dispersing the vote” among critics with Morales could harm his struggle to “get out of tyranny.”

Morales, in a similar tone, has also alerted his people against “overconfidence.” Thus, he has entrusted who on Sunday is anointed as his successor to devote himself fully to the task of “reversing the coup” on May 3.

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