Bolivian elections - victory for Morales and MAS

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Evo Morales President of Bolivia

Bolivia’s electoral court has confirmed the resounding victory won by Evo Morales and his party MAS (Movement Towards Socialism) in last Sunday’s Presidential and Congressional elections on 12 October 2014.

Morales won the presidency with 61% of the vote, way ahead of his closest rival, the cement magnate Samuel Medina (Democratic Unity -24%). MAS also won 117 out of 130 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, gaining 13 seats and ensuring that it has well over the two thirds majority it needs to continue its program of social investment and ‘Indigenous and cultural revolution’

This is the third consecutive election victory for MAS since it first came to power in 2005. Since then GDP has tripled, from $9.5bn to $30 bn and international reserves have risen from $1.7 bn to $14.4bn. Increased social spending has seen extreme poverty decline from 38% of the population to 18%. This has been made possible by a huge increase in State control of oil and gas profits. Multinationals used to keep 82% of profits and the state took 18%. Today that has been reversed.

MAS was elected on a platform of deepening the gains made so far. Pledges for the 2015-2020 term include:

  • a further reduction in the rate of extreme poverty, to 9% by 2020
  • the construction of 100,000 new homes
  • development of nuclear energy
  • an end to the importation of petrol (i.e. self-sufficiency through domestic oil refineries)
  • the expansion of the school curriculum to include more subjects
  • increasing access to potable water to 100% of the urban population and 90% of the rural population, and access to sewerage - 80% and 60% respectively
  • access to electricity for the entire population (by 2025)
  • the construction of 40 general hospitals and four specialist hospitals.

At the victory rally celebrating the election result last Sunday, Morales declared, ‘This victory of the Bolivian people in democracy is dedicated to all the peoples of Latin America and the world, who fight against capitalism and imperialism. This triumph is dedicated to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and all anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist presidents and governments.”

Bolivia, a key member of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas), continues to put human development at the centre of the struggle for socialism in Latin America.