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Anger mounts over polls result confusion in Bolivia

Published: October 23, 2019 00:34:12


People protesting on the street following the release of a revised vote count — Reuters

Violent protests have erupted in at least nine cities in Bolivia amid ongoing confusion about the result of Sunday's presidential election, reports BBC.

Suspicion arose among opponents of the incumbent, Evo Morales, after the quick count was surprisingly halted.

His main rival, Carlos Mesa, said the quick count's results were fraudulent.

Counting is still under way with Mr Morales in first place but currently with not enough of a lead to stave off a second round.

Bolivia's Supreme Electoral Tribunal is currently running two separate counts. The quick count, at 95.6 per cent of votes verified, puts Mr Morales ahead of Mr Mesa with a lead of 9.33 percentage points.

That is just short of the 10-percentage-point advantage he needs to win outright in the first round.

If that result were to be confirmed, Mr Morales and Mr Mesa would face each other in a run-off on 15 December.

The detailed count shows the two neck and neck. With 72pc of the votes counted, Mr Morales just had a 0.58 percentage point lead over Mr Mesa, making a second round highly likely.

Hours after polling booths closed on Sunday, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal released the first results of the quick count.

With 83.8 per cent of the votes verified, its website showed Mr Morales leading with 45.3 per cent, leaving Mr Mesa in second place with 38.2 per cent.

That result suggested there would be a run-off, prompting celebrations in the campaign camp of Mr Mesa, who jubilantly declared: "We've made it to the second round!"

But then the website with the quick count stopped being updated for 24 hours, prompting electoral observers from the Organisation of American States (OAS) to express their concern.

As counting was suspended, Mr Morales told his supporters he was confident that when votes from rural areas were tallied, there would be no need for a run-off.

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