June 11, 2014

Elections 2014: The Opposition to Morales


On a January 10, 2014 post, I wrote about the possible opposition to Morales for the October 2014 general elections. In that post, I named three alliances/groups/parties that were shaping up to compete in the elections. Today, the newspaper Pagina Siete published an article bringing a bit more clarity on the shape of the opposition.

The report names six political groups/alliances that have been approved by the electoral office to take part in the elections. Nonetheless, the paper casually mentions there are twelve groups officially approved but only mentions the most politically relevant. In my opinion, it would have been interesting to get to know the other groups. For that reason I visited the electoral office's web site but could not find any relevant information. I find that ironic because they do make a point of conducting a transparent process. Well, so much for transparency.

However, we do know, with a bit more certainty (lots can change in Bolivia in very little time), the six most important. Aside from the already mentioned in my post (see link above), Movimiento Sin Miedo, Movimiento Democrata Social, and Frente Amplio, the report mentions the Partido Democrata Cristiano (Christian Democratic Party, led by former president Tuto Quiroga), the Partido Verde de Bolivia (Green Bolivian Party, led by Fernando Vargas), and the Nueva Alternativa Popular (New Popular Alternative, led by Fanny Nina).

Now, I already provided a bit of information on the first three groups on the mentioned post. For that reason, I will only concentrate on the next three this time. Not that there is a lot to say. Two of the three candidates are virtually unknown to me. For that matter, it would be nice if anyone could post something about them.

Nonetheless, the Christian dems are led by Tuto Quiroga. This politician is already known to Bolivian enthusiasts. He first ran under the Accion Democratica Nacionalista (ADN, party founded by deceased ex-president Hugo Banzer) as vice president. After Morales ascended to power, Quiroga changed his ADN shirt for an alliance denominated Social and Democratic Power (PODEMOS). He has not been able to build a real political alternative against Morales mainly because he is strongly associated with the mostly discredited traditional political parties.

The greens' candidate is relatively new to me as is the NAP's candidate. More info on these two people is to come later.

What I know, however, is that these two groups are in conversations with a group of MAS dissidents and ex-leaders who have constituted the Third Option (Tercera Opcion). This group includes former MAS heavy weights such as Felix Patzi (indianist intellectual), Roman Loayza (former Morales equal), Felipe Quispe (also known as el Mallku), Alejo Veliz (former FEJUVE El Alto), and Roberto Coraite, Lino Villca, Rufo Calle (also former MAS activists).

In summary, while the opposition to Morales has emerged (as was expected), it still presents very little opposition to Morales. The fact that no candidate has been able to rise as a potential alternative to the incumbent says a lot about this opposition. They have been talking with another and have held several summits where one person should have emerged as the leader. As you can see, five months before the elections they are still talking.

I don't think anybody expects this opposition to agree on an alternative to Morales. Too many of them are too busy trying to position themselves as the one candidate and too few are presenting a real alternative.


This week there were new developments around the opposition. Newspapers reported that Unidad Nacional (National Unity), led by cement-king Samuel Doria Medina and Movimiento Democrata Social (Social Democratic Movement), led by Santa Cruz Governor Ruben Costas, signed an agreement to create a new alliance denominated Concertacion Unidad Democratica (something like Democratic Unity Concertation). This new alliance would be led by Ruben Costas and will have Samuel Doria as presidential candidate and former Beni Governor Ernesto Suares Sattori. Suares was one of the directly elected governors who were removed from office because of the MAS-anti corruption law which allows officials to be removed if they are formally accused.

The new alliance wants to erradicate poverty, establish equality among all Bolivian citizens, justice reform, citizen security, eliminate corruption, fight against drug trafficking and restructure the economy.