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  • Voters participating in Bolivia's first ever primary elections in which over 2 million people are expected to turn out.

    Voters participating in Bolivia's first ever primary elections in which over 2 million people are expected to turn out. | Photo: Twitter @freddymoralestelesur

Published 27 January 2019

More than 7,000 voting stations have been arranged for approximately 2 million voters, who will choose among nine political organizations.

As voting begins, the president of Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) Maria Eugenia Choque reported  everything as ready for Bolivia’s first ever primary elections , where each of the political parties aspiring to the presidency will choose their candidates.

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The TSE head said that all election materials have been distributed to polling stations, and rules have been established that prohibit of the carrying of firearms, partisan gatherings, advocating for or rejecting candidates, and alcohol consumption near authorized polling stations, explaining that anyone who violates these regulations will be punished with fines of up to five times the minimum wage.

According to teleSUR correspondent Freddy Morales, more than 7,000 voting stations have been arranged for approximately 2 million voters, who will choose among nine political organizations.

1.7 millions supporters of 9 political parties are registered to vote in the first ever primary eletions held in Bolivia.

The Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations and other 13 election experts have sent official observers.

The general commander of the Bolivian Police Rómulo Delgado outlined a security plan specifying that some 19,440 troops will be deployed throughout the country to guarantee the safety of polling stations and the integrity of the ballot boxes.

Observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) arrived in Bolivia on Jan. 21 for the primary elections.

Bolivia’s ambassador of Bolivia to the OAS José Alberto Gonzales, said that "there are five observers who have come to supervise the electoral process and issues related to technology."

Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the OAS, expressed his commitment to continuing to support the democratic process of Bolivia, as has been the case since 1966, with the sending of experts to conduct the monitoring of transparency in the elections.

“From the General Secretariat of the OAS, we are happy to accompany Bolivia once again through a mission to observe an unprecedented electoral process in the country, "said Almagro.

The primaries will allow Bolivian citizens to elect candidates from different political parties who will run in the October general elections.

Nine presidential binomials were registered before the TSE.

Opposition parties have decided to engage in a kind of boycott of the primary elections in Bolivia scheduled for Sunday

Out of the nine parties participating in the October presidential elections, only two are fully participating in the primaries, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) of President Evo Morales and the Third System Movement of the La Paz governor Felix Patzi.

The other seven parties are calling for an abstention and will only send small groups of "delegates" to vote in the ballots of the country, to guarantee that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) authorizes the candidates to run in October.

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According to the vice president of the Plurinational Electoral Body (OEP), Antonio Costas, "one" vote is enough to enable the candidates in the primary elections, so the parties are not doing anything illegal. However, "the TSE encourages participation because each electoral process involves the strengthening of democracy."

According to the opposition parties, these primaries are attempting to "legitimize" the candidates of the MAS Evo Morales and Alvaro Garcia Linera. However, primary elections are an important part of democracy in many countries in the world.

The president of the Lower Chamber, Victor Borda, warned about a possible "excuse" as "in the books, the opposition parties have a determined quantity of members, and in reality said quantity does not exist. I think they are trying to cover reality. They enter the rules of the game and now they run.".

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Bolivia will announce the winners of the primaries, who will automatically become the presidential binomials of each political organization.

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