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  • Bolivian President Evo Morales is pictured after his recent election victory.

    Bolivian President Evo Morales is pictured after his recent election victory. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 October 2019

While opposition groups protest in the main cities of Bolivia, the winner of the presidential elections, Evo Morales, challenged the opposition and the international community to prove the fraud via "vote to vote."

Bolivia experienced on Friday a full day of strikes led by opposition groups who were dissatisfied with the results of the presidential elections that took place on  October 20. The election saw an important victory for President Evo Morales who won with 47.08% of the votes. 

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The strikes took place in the main cities of Bolivia, including La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre and Santa Cruz. The strikes denounced the alleged "electoral fraud" by Morales, who later challenged the opposition and the international community to prove it "vote to vote."

"I’m convinced that we’re even going to get more votes," Morales said during a state media interview.

The main opposition candidate, Carlos Mesa of the 'Comunidad Ciudadana' (CC) party, expressed his rejection of the results through his Twitter account on Thursday and urged his followers to continue demonstrations throughout the country. 

Likewise, civic committees, groups linked to right-wing political alliances and traditionally representing the economic interests of the ruling class, have mobilized populations of urban sectors in major cities, using the “fraud” political strategy to demand a second electoral round that was also supported by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU), who were part of the international observation.

For his part, Morales, at an event in the Cochabamba city, challenged these organizations, and countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and the United States, who have cast doubt on the elections of October 20, to demonstrate the "fraud" that until now the opposition has not been able to prove.

He also called on his followers to remain calm and not fall into provocation in the face of the protests that lead sectors related to the opposition candidate.

“Let’s not go into provocation, they’re looking for a dead man to blame us. Resistance, defense of democracy, of the triumph of the Bolivian people, but without entering into confrontation, it is my request, brotherly leaders,” said Morales.

Meanwhile, the opposition and  civic committees have called for a "civil resistance" to continue until a second round is accepted. The strategy of the "civil resistance" was already used by the same groups in 2008, when an attempt to destabilize Morales' government unleashed almost a civil war between urban and rural sectors that was embodied in racist and class actions by urban groups that rejected the mandate of the first indigenous president in the country. 

The electoral body of the Andean country published the results showing 99.99%, confirming Evo Morales as winner by the Movement to Socialism (MAS) with 47.08% of the votes, compared to Mesa's 36.51 (CC).

Bolivian electoral law requires 50% of the votes plus one or 40% with 10 points advantage over the second to win in the first round, but when these percentages are not achieved, it goes to the second round between the two most voted.

For her part, the president of the electoral body, María Eugenia Choque, appeared before the media for the first time since Wednesday to ensure that they are open to the audit requested by organizations such as the United Nations (UN), OAS and the EU.

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