November 28, 2004

Municipal Elections: La Recta Final.

MABB is a registered TM.

On December 5, 2004, Bolivia will again go to the ballots to elect local governments. This will be a major test, not only for Bolivian democracy, but for the decentralization process as well. These elections will be the first ones in which voters will have other choices than just those the traditional political parties present them with. Thanks to the recently approved Ley de Agrupaciones Ciudadanas y Pueblos Indigenas (roughly translated to Law of Citizen Groups and Indigenous Peoples) promulgated on July 6, 2004, voters will be able to chose among candidates representing Agrupaciones Ciudadanas and Pueblos Indigenas. This law, essentially demonopolized Bolivian politics, making it possible for different citizens groups and indigenous organizations to present alternatives.

As a result, the pool of candidates has exploded. According to the Corte Nacional Electoral CNE, there will be 12,946 candidates up for election this coming December 5. Encouragingly, 35.93 % of the total candidates will be women and 64.07 % will be men. One other interesting fact is, when we look at the total people able to vote (4,531,744), 23.5% are between the ages 22 and 30. Moreover, the group of people between 31 and 40 represent 23.3% of the electorate. Together, these two groups make almost half of the people eligible to vote. This is not surprising since Bolivians between 20 and 40 years old make up about 28% of the entire population. The Bolivian population as well as the electorate is relatively young.

The older generations are represented as follows: the group of voters between 41 and 50 years old make up 18.14% of eligible voters, and the groups between 51 to 65, 66 to 70 and over 70, make up 16.66%, 3.4% and 8.5% respectively.

For more coverage of Bolivian Municipal Elections visit Barrio Flores. Eduardo Avila has been covering this process closely. He takes you right into de middle of the political parties' rallies.

As far as I can see. The elections are set to proceed without any major event. The people are fully engaged in the process. We'll see in the next few days if it stays the same or something else develops. As always, following Bolivian politics is a roller coaster.