Bolivia will hold general elections today, with nine candidates contesting the presidency. The winner will commence a five-year term in January.
The incumbent, Evo Morales of the Movement for Socialism party, is leading the polls and is expected to win again. His candidacy is controversial among some sections of the population owing to a constitutional provision that limits presidential terms to two. However, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice of Bolivia ruled in December 2017 that public offices will not be limited by term numbers regardless of the constitutional provision.
Morales needs to win 40% of the vote and lead with a margin of 10% to avoid a run-off in December. His closest competitor—former president Carlos Mesa—can be expected to unite the opposition if the second round is indeed needed.
Morales is a leftist leader who built favour with his nationalisation of natural gas in May 2006. While Morales’s political popularity has declined, he can be expected to build export relations with Peru and Paraguay—diverging from the current agreements with Argentina and Brazil—to earn revenues for higher public investments. Hope for increased spending is likely to win him support in the polls.