Sat, 28 Nov 2020

LA PAZ, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Voters on Sunday morning began casting their ballots in Bolivia's general elections.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Bolivia inaugurated the general elections for a new president and vice president, as well as senators and deputies for the constitutional period of 2020-2025, with a call to strengthen democracy.

Inaugurating the elections at a public ceremony held in the city of La Paz, TSE President Salvador Romero said that the elections "are, without hesitation, the most complex in the history of Bolivia."

Polling stations opened at 08:00 a.m. local time (1200 GMT) with voting set to last until 5:00 p.m. local time (2100 GMT), with the extention of one hour this year due to the health measures put in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Romero spoke on the process the country had gone through to reach this year's elections, which were suspended on three separate occasions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and guaranteed the reliability of the results in a transparent process. He added that the Preliminary Results Dissemination (Direpre) system had been suspended after some failures were found.

Romero also urged voters to strictly comply with bio-security measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

The inaugural event was attended by Jeanine Anez, the leader of Bolivia's interim government, Senate President Eva Copa, and representatives from the five political organizations participating in the elections, as well as international and national observers, among others.

The TSE has authorized a total of 7,332,925 Bolivian citizens vote in this Sunday' elections. According to the TSE, the departments that make up the so-called central axis, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba, are home to 73 percent of the nation's voters.

The political parties participating in this year's elections are We Believe (Creemos), Movement Towards Socialism (Movimiento Al Socialismo - MAS), The Front for Victory (Frente para la Victoria-FPV), the National Action Party of Bolivia (Pan-Bol), and Citizen Community (CC).

The candidates facing off in the presidential elections are: Luis Arce (MAS), Carlos Mesa (CC), Fernando Camacho (Creemos), Chi Hyun Chung (FVP), and Feliciano Mamani (Pan-Bol).

During last year's elections, then-president Evo Morales was reelected, however in November, he was forced to resign due to popular protests and pressure from the nation's armed forces and police amid allegations of electoral fraud made by the opposition and the Organization of American States.

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