August 11, 2008

Morales Wins and so do the Prefects

MABB © ®

The latest projections, which are taken as semi official in Bolivia and the world, show Morales being re-confirmed in office by 63% of the people (graphs are from La Razon). In addition, five of the eight Prefects are confirmed as well and three are recalled. As exit polls indicated, the Prefects who will keep their jobs are: Costas (with 67%), Cossio (with 64%), Virreira (with 76%), Suarez (with 61%) and Fernandez (with 56%). The recalled Prefects are: Paredes (with 42%), Aguilar (with 45%) and Reyes (with 39%).

It is interesting to highlight that Morales was recalled in four out of nine regions: Sucre, Beni, Tarija and Santa Cruz.

And also, Morales lost support in urban areas versus rural areas, where the core of his support is strong. What is surprising in the above graph is that the urban recall vote in Cochabamba wasn't higher. The rest I could have imagined it myself.

Just out of curiosity, the last graph shows how Paredes was recalled. He was so confident he would be reconfirmed because of his work for La Paz. I saw him in Coroico in May and he said people know he is making a lot of improvements for La Paz and people will recognize that. At the same time, the government was beginning a massive campaign against him. Did that work?

When you look at the graph, you notice he was just barely approved in urban areas. I think here El Alto played a decisive role in recalling him. Even though he is from El Alto, people there have little sympathy for him.

Now, what does this all mean? Here are my two cents...

I agree with the majority of verdicts, this result is a draw. The referendum changed very little of the situation. Yes, the President came out with some more support, but so did the Prefects in the opposition. Some of them came out swinging. This means the two sides will keep on pressing their agendas. The President will keep on trying to approve his constitution and the Prefects will keep on deepening their autonomic processes. They have already said so.

What will change is that the departments of La Paz and Cochabamba will be on Morales' side now. Since he can appoint the new Prefects, until there is a new elections at least, I imagine he will be appointing bold supporters. The prefecture of La Paz I see going to someone from the El Alto supporting organizations, and in Cochabamba will be someone from the coca growers union, I take.

Aside from that, the two sides will have to do what they should have done from the beginning: talk. Morales has to be prepared to compromise in some aspects and forget about trying to push the changes he is trying to push. The deeper the differences, the harder it will be for Morales to drive through his revolution.