Peruvian student of journalism and international relations at New York University. Interested in international politics and human rights.
Starting in the early morning, demonstrators draped in Bolivia's red, yellow and green flag blocked roads in La Paz with barricades of tires, rope and trash cans. They demanded their "vote be respected." Following allegations of fraud, protestors clashed as incumbent Evo Morales was declared winner of Sunday's presidential election.
With 99.99 percent of the ballots counted, the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) declared Morales had secured 47.1 percent, against 36.5 percent for his closest rival Carlos Mesa –- just scraping past the 10 point margin of victory required for an outright win.
It means Morales, who turns 60 on Saturday, has won a fourth successive term despite the constitution he promulgated in 2009 limiting presidents to two mandates. Morales is currently the longest-serving president in the region.
But the vote count, which first showed Morales and Mesa heading for a runoff, shifted dramatically on Monday to give the president a wider lead.
Morales's Movement for Socialism (MAS) party "just committed fraud" Mesa, who was previously president from 2003 to 2005, said on Thursday.
Backed by a collective of centrist and right-wing parties, he called on his supporters to maintain street protests.
On Thursday the European Union, United States, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia called for a second round run-off to restore trust and confidence in the electoral process. The Organisation of American States (OAS) had already expressed "surprise" and "concern" over Monday's sudden shift in official tallies, and has agreed to scrutinise the results.
In the southern neighborhood of Achumani, protestors yelled "Evo again, huevo carajo (egg shit)!" In different neighbourhoods, police were heavily present. They were especially seen in plazas and roundabouts, to prevent any road closures on the part of residents.
The few buses that circulated the city took alternate routes from the outskirts to the centre of La Paz, which was calm. Banks were open with regular schedules alongside public offices and businesses.
While shops in the city centre were open, many in the suburbs were closed, mostly due to the road blocks. In the cities of Santa Cruz (east), Sucre (southeast), Cochabamba (centre), and Potosí (southwest), protests led by the opposition continued. They continue to advocate for a run-off vote.
Already president since 2006, Morales will now remain in the post until 2025.
Left-wing allies Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico sent their congratulations. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, on a trip to Azerbaijan, accused Mesa of attempting a "coup d'etat."
Violent protests raged all week, and fresh clashes broke out on Thursday between supporters of both sides in Santa Cruz, the economic capital and opposition stronghold. Offices in the city housing Bolivia's electoral authority were set on fire, as security forces clashed with demonstrators in La Paz and elsewhere.
The TSE has been heavily criticised for its conduct of the count process, including by its own vice-president, who resigned. On Monday, after the release of partial election results showed Morales just ahead of Mesa, mobs torched electoral offices in Sucre and Potosi, while rival supporters clashed in La Paz.
He won the 2009 and 2014 elections with more than 60 percent of the vote.
But his popularity has waned amid allegations of corruption and authoritarianism.
Morales points to a decade of economic stability and considerable industrialisation as his achievements, while insisting he has brought "dignity" to Bolivia's indigenous population, the largest in Latin America.