Bolivia moves to the left
Exit polls from Bolivia’s presidential election suggest a clear victory for left-wing Aymara Indian candidate Evo Morales — though not an outright win.
Several polls give him 42-45% of the vote ahead of his nearest challenger, former President Jorge Quiroga who, the polls say, got between 33-37%.
In Bolivia’s electoral system, if no candidate receives at least 50 percent of votes cast in a presidential election, the new parliament (elected at the same time) picks the new president itself. However, given that third-place candidate Samual Doria Medina has already pledged his support to the top vote-getter, it is almost certain that Morales will “become Bolivia’s first indigenous president”.
The BBC reports that Morales admires Fidel Castro and that the Bush Administration worries that he may be another Hugo Chavez (the populist anti-American president of Venezuela). That may or may not be true. And it may very well be that Bolivia, “South America’s poorest state,” would benefit more from economic liberalization than from leftist protectionism.
Yes, Morales’ election makes a lot of sense. I explain why here.