May 14, 2014

Elections 2014: Electoral Manipulation or Mere Organizational Process? Follow up


The previous post was about how the electoral tribunal allegedly wanted to manipulate the electoral outcome by engaging in voting district manipulation. However, it was about an allegation because the actual redistricting was not yet done, but the media and the opposition were already yelling out foul.

Well, the regulation is out now and it seems the cries were exagerated or they really worked.

The electoral tribunal presented yesterday the newly redrawn voting districts for the 63 single-member deputies that will be elected to the lower chamber. This chamber is made up of those 63 uninominal (in Bolivian jargon) seats, in addition to 60 representatives elected by lists and the 7 special seats reserved for the indigenous peoples.

The adjustment was significant, however. Each of these districts has an assigned ideal number of voters, according to the number of citizens in each department. But, in the previous regulation prior to this last revision, the ideal number was allowed to vary by + or - 35.5 per cent. This meant a significant amount of variation in each district. However, in the last revision, this variation was reduced to + or - 15 per cent.

The most significant result was the loss of one uninominal seat for La Paz, Cochabamba and Oruro each and the gain of one seat for Santa Cruz. That means now that while La Paz had 5, now it has 4 seats only; while Cochabamba had 4, now it has 3; and while Oruro had 3, now it has 2 only. In addition, Santa Cruz went from having 7 to having 8 seats now. Considering that the population in Santa Cruz has increased in the last 11 years and some regions such as Oruro has lost some population, this results are far more in accordance with what had been expected from the new numbers obtained in the last census but far different from what some of last week's critics had imagined.

Last week several regions or departments had said they would mobilize agains any intent to manipulate the electoral outcomes. This week, the reactions are very different. Santa Cruz, after having received an explanation, decided to demobilize. La Paz, on its part, had called for a meeting of social forces for today, which after the publication of the electoral map by the TSE called it off. I am sure it will take a few more days for the other parties to scrutinize the new regulation and the map and to make decisions on whether to mobilize or not. Right now, it seems the problem will pass and the electoral season will go on.


Pagina Siete article on the issue, May 14, 2014

Erbol article with maps, May 14, 2014

Electoral Tribunal original data, May 14, 2014