Bolivia’s general election will be postponed until October 18, when the coronavirus pandemic is taking hold of the South American nation, which could fuel tensions between the interim Conservative government and the socialist party of former President Evo Morales. The Chief Electoral Tribunal said on Thursday that the vote would be postponed from the previously scheduled date of September 6 to ensure the health of voters, with hospitals and cemeteries overwhelmed by the effects of the virus.
Voting is crucial to the political future of the Andean nation of 11,5 million people after a volatile election last year, provoked widespread unrest and led to the resignation of long-standing leftist leader Morales. In the political vacuum and in the midst of deadly street conflicts, right-wing lawmaker Jeanine Anez was brought to power, promising to hold fast new elections, originally scheduled for May before the pandemic was postponed until September.
The federation of coca-farming communities around the former fortress of Morales Chapare in central Bolivia rejected the “unilateral” decision of the Committee. They added that if the delay was not lifted within 72 hours, “mobilizations” would be launched, which in the past were characterized by street demonstrations and road blockades on key trade routes.