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LATIN AMERICA | 20-03-2019 13:45

Bolivian elections brought forward to avoid clash with Argentina, Uruguay

Voting will now be held Sunday, October 20, electoral authorities announce.

General elections in Bolivia will now be held on Sunday, October 20, a week earlier than first planned, in order not to clash with elections in Argentina and Uruguay scheduled for October 27.

Bolivia's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) confirmed the decision on Monday.

In part, the reasoning for the decision is down to the large number of Bolivians that live in Argentina. Around 100,000 are registered to vote in the ballot.

Citing elections on the same date in Argentina and Uruguay, TSE head María Eugenia Choque said holding the vote on October 27 would have caused difficulties for "technical organisation, logistics, polling stations and security guards."

The announcement was made after a conference of electoral leaders from all over Bolivia held in the central city of Cochabamba.

In the October elections Bolivian President Evo Morales – who has been in power since 2006 – will opt for a fourth five-year term which would run until 2025. His decision to run has sparked huge controversy, with critics describing the move "unconstitutional."

A referendum on February 21, 2016, rejected his new desire to run for another term. However, in 2017, Morales won a ruling from the Constitutional Court that authorised him to seek re-election indefinitely, arguing that to deny his attempt would run would be an infringement of the president's human rights.

The opposition will be divided in the October elections, however, with a total of eight candidates – including former president Carlos Mesa (2003-2005) – running for the presidency.

If no candidate obtains an absolute majority in the elections, there will be a second round run-off between the top two held a few weeks later.

- TIMES/AFP

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