A final official vote count has confirmed Luis Arce’s sweeping landslide victory in Bolivia's presidential election, vindication for the Movimiento al Socialismo party of ousted former president Evo Morales, who was barred from running.
Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal said yesterday that Arce won 55 percent of the votes against six rivals on the ballot, easily avoiding the need for a run-off. Centrist former President Carlos Mesa came second with just under 29 percent, while conservative Luis Fernando Camacho – one of the leaders of the protest movement that helped drive Morales out of the country a year ago – received only 14 percent of the vote.
MAS also won majorities in both houses of Congress, though that fell short of the two-thirds majorities it would need to modify the Constitution without consent by opposition parties.
Arce served as economy minister for a dozen years under Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president now living in exile in Buenos Aires. Since winning the election, however, the president-elect has downplayed speculation of a major role in his administration for Morales, who says he will return to Bolivia “as soon as possible.”