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Bolivia

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Bolivia



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The 2005 Bolivian presidential election was held on December 18, 2005. The two main candidates were Evo Morales of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) Party, and Jorge Quiroga, leader of the Democratic and Social Power (PODEMOS) Party and former head of the Acción Democrática Nacionalista (ADN) Party. Felipe Quispe, of the Pachakuti Indigenous Movement (MIP), also presented himself. Morales won the election with 54% of the vote, an absolute majority; Quiroga conceded defeat, and Morales was sworn in on January 22, 2006, for a five-year term. Morales claimed his victory marks Bolivia's first election of an indigenous head of state, but this claim genered controversy,[1] however, due to the number of mestizo presidents who came before him,[2] and was challenged publicly by such figures as Mario Vargas Llosa,[3] who accuse Evo of fomenting racial divisions in an increasingly mestizo Latin America.

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Background

Bolivia is a landlocked country in South America and has one of the highest rates of poverty in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 70% living below the poverty line and 14.4% living on less than one U.S. dollar a day.

The total population is about 9.1 million with 3.7 million citizens registered to vote. About 30% of the electorate are Quechua-speaking and 25% are Aymara. Voting is compulsory for all Bolivians over the age of 18.

Bolivians abroad were not able to take part. Bolivia's ethnic distribution is estimated to be 33% Quechua and 30% Aymara Amerindians, 25% Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) and 12% European.

In the 2000s, there were high levels of political instability across the country, including five Presidents in four years. Much of the instability dates back to the economic reforms otherwise known as "shock therapy" implemented by President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada whereby many formerly public utilities were privatized.

These reforms ultimately lead to the First Bolivian Gas War in October 2003 where protesters, many of them of indigenous descent, essentially forced the resignation of Sánchez de Lozada. Carlos Mesa temporarily served as interim President.

In his year in office, Mesa held a national referendum on the prospect of the nationalization of the hydrocarbons industry which he claimed to have won. Critics however said that the questions were vague and ambiguous with regard to outright nationalization of the hydrocarbons industry.

In May 2005 the Second Bolivian Gas War began after Congress agreed to raise taxes on foreign companies from 18% to 32%. The unions, led by Evo Morales, felt the law did not go far enough and effectively shut down the country, blockading major roads and cutting off the food supplies of several large cities.

In June 2005 the protests ultimately led to Mesa's resignation. Supreme Court Chief Justice Eduardo Rodríguez assumed the position of President of the Republic after the presidents of both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies declined the position and Rodríguez was fourth in line of succession.

Viewed as an apolitical figure, Rodríguez was welcomed by protesters and called for the presidential elections slated to take place in 2007 to be brought forward to December 2005.

Results

e • d  Summary of the 18 December 2005 Bolivian presidential election results
Candidates Nominating parties Votes %
Juan Evo Morales Ayma
Álvaro García Linera
Movement Toward Socialism 1,544,374 53.7
Jorge Fernando "Tuto" Quiroga Ramírez
María Renée de los Ángeles Duchén Cuéllar
Democratic and Social Power 821,745 28.6
Samuel Jorge Doria Medina Auza
Carlos Fernando Dabdoub Arrien
National Unity Front 224,090 7.8
Michiaki Nagatani Morishita
Guillermo Luis Bedregal Gutiérrez
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement 185,859 6.5
Felipe Quispe Huanca
Camila Choqueticlla
Indigenous Pachakuti Movement 61,948 2.2
Gildo Angulo Cabrera
Gonzalo José Silvestre Quiroga Soria
New Republican Force 19,667 0.7
Eliceo Rodríguez Pari
Rodolfo Antonio Flores Morelli
Agrarian Patriotic Front of Bolivia 8,737 0.3
Néstor García Rojas
Teodomiro Rengel Huanca
Social Union of the Workers of Bolivia 7,381 0.3
Total (turnout: 84.5 %) 2,873,801 100.0
Null votes 104,570 3.4
Blank votes 124,027 3.0
Total votes 3,102,417 100.0
Registered voters 3,671,152
Source: CNE

References

  1. ^ "¿Evo indígena o mestizo?". Bolpress. 2006-01-01. http://www.bolpress.com/art.php?Cod=2006012217.  
  2. ^ Mesa, José, Gisbert, Teresa, Mesa Gisbert, Carlos D. Historia de Bolivia: Segunda Edición corregida y actualizada. Editorial Gisbert. La Paz, 1998.
  3. ^ "Vargas Llosa: "un nuevo racismo"". BBC Mundo. 2006-01-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/latin_america/newsid_4633000/4633898.stm.  

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