Demonstration of health officials against the Government of Evo Morales – REUTERS / DAVID MERCADO
The UN offers to mediate in the electoral crisis if the parties ask for it
The Government of Bolivia has requested on Tuesday the Organization of American States (OAS) to audit the results of the presidential elections that took place last Sunday, to end a political crisis that has been staged in the streets of the main cities with clashes between supporters and detractors of the current president, Evo Morales.
The origin of the protests is the sudden suspension of the Transmission of Preliminary Electoral Results (TREP) on the same election night. Until that moment, with more than 80 percent scrutinized, the TREP gave Morales 45 percent and the opposition candidate Carlos Mesa, 38 percent of the votes, forcing a second round between the two next December.
The TREP has resumed in the last hours. With 95 percent of the scrutiny completed, Morales has rebounded to 46 percent, while Mesa has dropped to 37 percent. If the Bolivian president manages to distance himself ten points from the opposition leader, he will have avoided the second round, getting another five years of government.
Mesa called on Monday a “democratic mobilization” to avoid what he believes is an attempt by the Government to rig the election results to prevent Morales from going to a second round, the first in 17 years, in which he could be defeated if the Bolivian opposition – normally atomized – joins forces.
The Mesa appeal received Tuesday the support of the Civic Committees, which bring together civil society organizations, and the opposition platform National Committee in Defense of Democracy (Conade), which have called an “indefinite national strike” that It will start at midnight on Wednesday (local time) until the real results are known.
“If the Government is a fraud manager and if the Government does not give us the confidence, then the only thing left is 'vox populi' in town hall that makes justice prevail in the country,” said the presidential candidate of the Party Christian Democrat (PDC), Chi Hyun Chung, who finished third and has already offered his support to Mesa for a second round.
Along the same lines, the National Coordinator for Change (Conalcam) of Bolivia, an official platform, has urged his own to defend Morales's “victory”. “The Conalcam is declared in a state of emergency, in permanent vigil with mobilization, with peaceful concentrations,” said Juan Carlos Huarachi, executive secretary of the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), one of the organizations integrated in the Conalcam.
“Faced with this triumph, the right is trying to make a coup. Attack on democracy and economic and social stability … Instruct social organizations corresponding actions to defend the victory of the process of change,” he urged , pointing to Mesa as “intellectual author” of the riots that have occurred in the last hours.
Calls for mobilization have penetrated both sectors, which on Tuesday have once again starred in clashes between them and with the security forces in La Paz and other points of the Bolivian geography, according to local media.
According to the Bolivian newspaper 'Los Tiempos', militants of the Movement To Socialism (MAS), the party of Morales, and the Citizen Community, the opposition alliance for which Mesa competes, have faced each other in La Paz and the Police have had to intervene throwing tear gas.
Similar scenes have been lived in Cochabamba, where students who support Morales and Mesa have faced each other on the campus of the Universidad Mayor de San Simón (UMSS) and in the Plaza Sucre. The security forces have also loaded with tear gas.
In Potosí, clashes have occurred between protesters and police after rumors about the transfer of electoral material, although later the electoral authorities in the city have clarified that the complaints refer to places rented to store the surplus material.
In Tarija, a crowd has entered the Departmental Electoral Court. In the early hours of Tuesday, groups of people attacked several polling stations. In Potosí, the TED set on fire and two people had to jump from a second floor to save their lives.
Thus, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has pronounced in a brief statement to “repudiate and condemn acts of violence” and “ask the Bolivian population to maintain the climate of peace in which the elections of the 20 of October”.
The TSE has stressed that the official results will be announced “within the term established by law” and, until then, it has urged Bolivians to “follow up” the scrutiny on its website, “where the electoral records that support the transparency of the electoral process. ”
In addition, he has asked “political organizations and civil society to accompany this final phase in a peaceful manner.” “This is the only way to consolidate democracy,” he said.
The Government has also moved token. Foreign Minister Diego Pary has announced that he has sent a letter to the OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, so that the regional organization “performs an audit of the official vote count of the current electoral process, to verify transparency and legitimacy of it. ”
The Bolivian Foreign Minister already invited on Monday “all interested countries and international organizations to continue the accompaniment of the vote count”. Specifically, he pointed to the ambassadors of Brazil and Argentina and to the United States business manager.
The OAS, for its part, has limited itself to issuing a statement informing that its Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) in Bolivia “maintains its technical deployment in the nine departments of the country to continue to closely monitor the computation process. definitive as it has done so far. ”
The hemispheric bloc has denounced that “the violence forced the interruption of the computation process in six departments – La Paz, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, Potosí, Oruro and Beni- – and that there have been attacks on electoral courts and their personnel. has completed the transmission of the electoral records in Tarija, Santa Cruz and Pando.
“The OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Bolivia strongly condemns all acts of violence (…) and calls citizens and all political and social actors to calm down to allow official vote counting to develop in a manner agile, transparent and complete, “he said
The MOE, he said, “will continue to observe the final computation process throughout the national territory” until the TSE declares the official results “so that this process is completed and the next stage can begin.”
Meanwhile, the OAS Permanent Council has announced that it will meet on Wednesday in an extraordinary session to address the electoral crisis in Bolivia, at the request of Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the United States and Venezuela.
The United Nations has also expressed concern about the escalation of violence in Bolivia, while sliding an offer of mediation, recalling that “it is always ready to help” if the parties request it.