Fresh elections, and perhaps a fresh start, for Bolivia
LAST OCTOBER, after an election marred by accusations of fraud, Joan Fernández joined thousands of Bolivians in protests that toppled the socialist government of Evo Morales. His joy quickly gave way to disillusion. After Mr Morales, who had been seeking a fourth term, resigned on November 10th and fled to Mexico, Jeanine Áñez, a right-wing senator, became president. Her only goal, she said, was to prepare fresh elections. Instead, she became a candidate, used the justice system to go after her rivals and flubbed the government’s response to the pandemic.
“They used us to get rid of Evo and then they abandoned us,” says Mr Fernández, a college student from Villa Armonía (Harmony Town), a working-class neighbourhood in La Paz, the administrative capital. With new elections scheduled for October 18th, the plaza is decorated with flags from rival political parties, a loudspeaker announces free rabies jabs and families chat as they wait with dogs on leads and cats in blankets. The harmonious scene is deceptive. People are stocking up on food in anticipation of post-election protests, says Mr Fernández, stroking his cocker spaniel.
Bolivia is again bitterly divided between supporters of Mr Morales’s Movement to Socialism (MAS) and backers of Carlos Mesa, a centrist former president who ran last year. Polls predict a...