This make-up election was postponed twice, first being scheduled for May and then September before settling on October, due to Covid-19. Luis Arce replaced exiled ex-president Evo Morales, as the MAS party's candidate. Carlos Mesa continued as the main opponent. Newcomer to the race, Luis Camacho, who led a citizens' resistance following the last election, also threw his hat in the ring. Just before the election date some other contenders, including the interim president, pulled their candidacy in hopes of uniting votes against MAS.
An important detail should be understood regarding the Bolivian electoral system. A first round election can only be won with either 50% of the overall vote or with a minimum of 40% and a 10% margin lead. If this is not acquired, a run-off election between the top two candidates is held. All polls suggested that MAS would win by a small margin, resulting in a run-off vote between Arce and Mesa, where Mesa was favoured to win.
Apparently, polls are not to be trusted.
While the official results are still being counted, the fast count shows that Arce has won with just over 50% of the vote, surpassing Mesa by a margin of 20%.
There is still much to be seen. Will the results be contested or accepted by the opposition and their supporters? Will Evo return to Bolivia despite the significant charges against him (fraud, sedition, and pedophilia to name a few)? Will this coming term be fraught with political tension and regular protests? Will in-person elections, along with a global precedent, spark a second wave of covid?
As we watch and wait, we continue to pray for peace, health, and unity in the country and for our churches.