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Bolivians Reject Judicial Elections and Nullify Over Half of Votes to Protest President Morales

By: Karina Martín - Dec 4, 2017, 3:12 pm
(Flickr)
In elections in which the population had only the option of electing government-supported candidates, the best option for citizens was to vote null as a way of demonstrating they rejected the entire process. (Flickr)

EspañolThe judicial elections held in Bolivia last Sunday, December 3 resulted in a majority of “null” votes — a blow to President Evo Morales and the officials he has chosen for his government.

With 87 percent of the results counted and with 72 percent citizen participation, just over 30 percent of the population made the difference in electing the authorities in the Judicial Branch and the Plurinational Constitutional Court, which had been previously pre-selected by the governing party’s majority parliament.

The judicial elections took place in Bolivia’s tense political climate following the decision of the Plurinational Constitutional Court to approve Morales’ unconstitutional push for reelection. The courts’ decision has sparked massive protests against Morales and criticism from the international community. These elections, the opposition said, only further demonstrate that Morales doesn’t have the support of the country.

In elections in which the population had only the option of electing government-supported candidates, the best option for citizens was to cast a “null” vote as a way of demonstrating they reject the entire process. Many ballots reportedly contained scribbles, drawings and insults against Morales.

“Today we have again heard the voice of the people, and today, like February 21, the citizens have defeated Evo Morales, a leader who is trying to impose his re-election, corruption and the manipulation of justice on Bolivia,” opposition politician Samuel Doria Medina, said.

Presidents Carlos Mesa (2003-2005) and Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga (2001-2002), leaders of the campaign in favor of the null vote, acknowledged the triumph on social media, reiterating their opposition to Morales’ “totalitarian tyranny.”

With 80% counted, 53%NULL, 15% blank, 32% valid. Mr. President, this is a clear message about your undermining of our democracy, and your upheaval of justice. 
We insist that you respect the popular vote, expressed clearly in these results. 

On F21-a little over half of the Bolivian population voted NO to @evoespueblo
On D3-2017 two thirds of BOL gave null or blank votes. We reject your corruption, and judicial prorruguismo. Bolivia once again defeats totalitarian tyranny. 

Despite a clear majority of null votes in the electoral process to elect the 96 authorities of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Agro-Environmental Court and the Council of Magistrates, Morales continues to claim the opposition campaign failed to show a lack of support for him.

“Where is the 70 (percent) that the right expected?” he said. “Now they want to focus on the null votes because they failed in their campaign.”

Until last month, Morales criticized “the democracy of majorities,” claiming that elections should be won with at least 50 percent or 60 percent of votes.

Protests in the Murillo plaza against the TCP failure in allowing @evoespueblo to run again

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.