National elections loom after a brutal year for Bolivia
October 17, 2020 at 14:42
(CNN) It started with allegations of fraud amid contested national elections.
Now, after multiple postponements, Bolivians will finally vote Sunday to choose a new president, vice president, and Legislative Assembly.
Election chaosWhen Bolivians went to the polls in October 2019, few were prepared for the bloodshed that would follow.
It was clear the contest would come down to two candidates: long-time incumbent President Evo Morales and former President Carlos Mesa.
In 2003, he was serving as vice president when then President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada resigned following massive protests.
When it resumed about 24 hours later, Morales' modest lead surged, putting him across the threshold to avoid a runoff.
An Organization of American States (OAS) election audit released a few weeks later claimed there was "intentional manipulation" and "serious irregularities" in the vote count.
Amid public pressure and a call from the commander of the country's military forces to step down, Morales fled Bolivia .
She promised swift new elections, but a year later, those elections are only just now happening after a series of broken promises.
Then, soon after Bolivia announced its first confirmed case of the coronavirus March 10, the elections were put on indefinite hold.
In the long-term, the next president will face a fiercely partisan mood in the country and a potentially divided government.
Put another way, disputes over the election's outcome might only be the beginning of the next president's problems.