Resurrection Sunday, Resurrected Opposition
This Sunday, April 4th, local elections took place in Bolivia, and the opposition to Morales was resurrected. Elections were held to vote for nine state governors, state parliaments (assemblies), 307 mayors and their respective teams (in separate platforms) to conform the local counseling boards. Bolivia has nine states (departments), which have elected governors for the first time, in accordance to the new constitution imposed by Morales and his MAS (socialist) party, which includes Morales’s vision of autonomy for every Bolivian State. Mayors were also elected in a separate platform from their teams for the first time.
Morales addressed the public later at night, without the usual triumphant gala, and recognized the loss of two big cities that were typical MAS voting sites, Oruro and La Paz, where mayors from the opposition were elected. Vice president Alvaro Garcia Linera had previously predicted that the national vote for Morales, which added to 64% in the last poll, would be repeated. This did not happen, as the population elected opposition leaders for mayors in both previously MAS owned sites. Governors in both cities belong to the official party, though, and Morales expressed his disappointment as, in his own words, “MAS is not willing to work with opposition leaders, who are felons and have participated in civic coup de e´tats to separate me from the government”.
Half of the 307 mayors are from MAS, and final results for mayor’s teams are expected for later in the week. MAS has spent a lot of money in the national elections, while taking away all financing for the rest of the parties. As a result, all media were filled up with official propaganda while there was almost no media spread for other parties, making Morales a big winner. In the case of local power, most Municipalities and State Governments were bastions of the opposition, thus allowing the use of more financial resources for their campaigns. This has meant for the MAS party to lose more than half of the municipalities and the Governor spaces of seven states are being disputed vote by vote.
Opposition leaders, in the light of the results, will have the hard work of changing its way of speaking to the government, while the government will have to redesign its strategies to include non official cities and states into its development plans. This had not been possible in its first four years of government, when Morales decided to put the opposition out of action by putting its members to endless judicial trials, building accusations of all kinds, jailing press workers, and finally asking the people to vote again and again in order to get a grip on all sites.
If this strategies worked before, it is unknown if they will work now, when the opposition has resurrected despite of all the hard work against it. Local power is on the hands of the opposition now. Up to what point, will be known in 26 days, when the National Elections Organization will give the final, official results, which may vary in accordance to different objections presented by all parties involved. Bolivians have at least one election per year nowadays. Next election will be held on December this year, to elect Justice Ministers, who by now have been pinpointed by Morales himself until the election comes.
Power has been redistributed. At the national level Morales has the key to all decisions. Local power is relative. But it is what makes a difference in the lives of people. Most Bolivian people are Christians, thus have celebrated the resurrection of Christ this Sunday in a very peaceful way. This is a coincidence with the resurrection of an ailing opposition.