Morales and MAS expect comfortable win in general election today
A total of 6,245,959 eligible voters will be heading for the polls in Bolivia today to vote for a President and Vice-President, the 130 members of the Chamber of Deputies and the 36 members of the Senate. A registered 272,058 Bolivians will be voting abroad in 33 countries, the first time overseas voting has been allowed.
There are more than a dozen political parties vying for seats in Congress with in excess of 1,000 candidates standing. In the Presidential contest there are five candidates but incumbent President, Evo Morales is expected to win comfortably in this first round.
Recent opinion polls put President Morales on 59% of the vote, although that would be a drop on his 64.22% win in 2009.
Samuel Doria of the right-wing UD is trailing in second place with 18%; Democratic Unity (UD) or it is sometime referred to as Unity Democrat Coalition (CUD) was formed as an electoral alliance by the Democratic Social Movement (MDS) and National Unity (UN) on 17th June
Jorge Quiroga of the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) is in third place with 9%.
The other two candidates are Juan del Granado of the Movement Without Fear party (MSM) who is on 4% and Fernando Vargas of the Green Party (PVB) who trails on 2% support.
The main political parties standing for Congress in this election are the governing left-wing Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), the centre-left Movement Without Fear party (MSM), the right-wing National Unity Front (UN), the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) and the centre-left Green Party (PVB).
In the 2009 election the Movement for Socialism won 88 seats in the 130 seat Chamber of Deputies and 26 seats in the 36 seat Senate.
The only other party to have had major representation in 2009 was the centre-right Plan Progress for Bolivia – National Convergence (PPB-CN) which was an alliance of New Republican Force (NRF), Plan Progress for Bolivia (PPB), Autonomy for Bolivia (APB), Peoples Party (PP) and the Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR). They won 37 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and10 seats in the Senate. The associated parties agreed not to stand as an alliance again in 2014.
Polling stations open at 8 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. local time. There are 38,200 polling stations in Bolivia and overseas.