July 09, 2006

99% of the Vote Count is Done

MABB © ®

According to the electoral court, 99,7 % of the votes from the July 2 Constituent Assambly (CA) and Autonomic Referendum (AR) elections are counted. I think at this stage we can take a look at the results and make some conclusions.

The first conclusion is the most obvious: The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) has won among all the organizations, but it is fallen short of its own goal of obtaining at least 2/3 of the representatives. With 2/3 of the assembly seats in MAS hands, Morales would have just had to write the constitution himself and not worry about it getting rejected or debated.

Now, according to the below La Razon graph, MAS has gotten 50.76% of the votes at the national level, which translates into 139 seats at the assembly. Additionally, if we count other organizations allies of MAS, which received assembly seats, MAS has control of a total of 151 seats from 255, 19 seats short for taking control of the assembly.

Another interesting conclusion is that MAS dominates the landscape, even in Santa Cruz, where it got 26.4% of the vote. The only two departments where PODEMOS won are Pando and Beni. I would have expected, specially after those marches in support for autonomy in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, that PODEMOS would have won. Instead PODEMOS got second place with 25% of the vote. If we compare this result with the results MAS got in other departments where it was clear it should have won, for example in La Paz (64%) or Cochabamba (61%), PODEMOS should have gotten at least 50% of the votes in Santa Cruz.

What happened? Are Evo's opponents in Santa Cruz not really the majority? Personally, I think the vote in Santa Cruz is splintered. The support for MAS is not large and its opponents are not united.

Another conclusion is that the road to a new constitution could be marred by politic bickering (the way it's been up to now) instead of negotiation and communication. For the MAS it looks as it will be easier just because it only has to bring another 19 votes over to its side. How hard can this be? I guess we'll see in the comming months. I take it, it could be pretty hard, considering that Bolivian politics is more or less polarized at the moment.

For PODEMOS, it looks like an uphill battle. It needs to prepare itself for lots of compromises and negotiations. I would say that PODEMOS and the other organizations will aim to try to stop MAS' influence and power over the assembly rather than make significant contributions to the new social contract. I guess the opposition could fulfill one of the madisonian conditions of control in the chamber.

A last conclusion to highlight is the amount of the blank and invalid votes. According to the CNE around 23,7% of the votes were blank and invalid votes. This is significantly more that the blank and invalid votes in the last December elections. From those votes, around 600,000 votes were blank. Two things come to mind, one is that the voters were apathetic or frustrated with the process and thus voted blank. Another is that the information campaign of the CNE was not good and did not fulfill its purpose. I am inclined to think the second is closer to what really happened.



Another thing, as a commentary, I want to mention is the defection reports of around 30 Cuban doctors from the mission working in Bolivia. One of the doctors is even said to have made it to the USA. I just read in the Santa Cruz newspapers and in La Razon of La Paz that the Cuban mission wants to prosecute these doctors for treason.

On of the doctors has given an intervew to a Santa Cruz channel and has talked about his life in Cuba and the precarious conditions for living.

Logically, the Cuban government wants to prosecute this doctor for defamation.

This is a twist which further complicates the events in Bolivia.