November 12, 2011

The Results of the Judicial Elections in Bolivia

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The results of the vote to fill judge posts in the four judicial sub-branches in Bolivia have been published by the Plurinacional Electoral Organ (the electoral court). Although, I have to say, since Evo is in government, the website does not work as well as it should. However, I was still able to get the final and official results.

First, I have to clarify that when I wanted to access the official results I had problems accessing the right results. For example, as I selected Santa Cruz or Pando, I got the Chuquisaca or Beni results. Only after 20 or 30 times trying to access the data by clicking on the same selection from the drop down menue I was able to access these results. Just to clarify further, I never had such a problem when I tried to access this kind of data before. I think the quality of data access has gone down.

Regardless of my petty problems by accessing the data, I was finally able to access it and from that data I created the following graph.





The graph shows the results of the judicial elections (valid, blank and spoiled votes) by tribunal or court. These results show a clear victory for the green bar or spoiled vote in the Supreme Justice Tribunal. This court is in the nine departments present and what the results say to me is that the majority of the departments did not support this court nor the vote for justices for this court. This is supposed to be the highest instance in the land.

More over, the spoiled votes show a close outcome together with the valid votes (the blue bar). How close it is, I think is irrelevant in this case. What counts for the governmet in this case is that the distance between one bar and the other is not significant or not visible. For the government that should signal a solid support for the voting exercise and the judges elected for the rest of the courts.

However, were we to add the blank votes to the spoiled votes, thereby assuming that those who voted blank protested against the vote, the result would be overwhelming for the government and clear for the rest of the world. No one will know if these votes were protest votes or the people who issued these votes did not know how to vote, were overwhelmed by the complexity of the ballot, or if they just did not care about it.

The opposition, in turn, can interpret this vote as if they did win the election. In the end, it is very remakable that the percentage of spoiled votes was so large in such elections. In fact, that is what they did. The opposition has been saying for weeks now that the spoile vote won and the elections were not legitimate.

In the end, however, the government has began to appoint the judges in their posts as the results mandate and has been able to say that the election results were not that bad. That is the success the Morales government has been able to gain from this electoral exercise. And, that seems like a good result, doesn't it?

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