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03 Dec 2019 | 09:55 PM UTC

Bolivia: General elections projected to be held in March 2020 /update 39

Interim government officials announce that new general elections are expected to be held in March 2020; political protests likely to continue in the coming months

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Event

The presidency minister of the interim government, Jerjes Justiniano Atalá, announced on Sunday, December 1, that fresh general elections are expected to be held in March 2020. According to Justiniano, a second round will then be held before April 23, 2020. All legally constituted political parties will be allowed to participate in the new election, but candidates will not be able to run for a position they have held for two consecutive terms. The exact date of the vote will be determined once the new members of the Supreme Electoral Council (TSE) have been selected. Individuals have until Saturday, December 7, to submit their applications to the Joint Constitution Committee of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly. According to media reports, as of Tuesday, December 3, only three people have applied for positions in the TSE.

While interim President Jeanine Áñez reached an agreement with former President Evo Morales's Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party to end protests on November 24, political tensions remain high in the country. Further demonstrations are possible across Bolivia, particularly in La Paz and El Alto, over the near term. A heightened security presence is anticipated around all demonstrations. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.

Context

Former President Morales resigned on November 10 following weeks of protests organized by opposition political organizations. The TSE was accused of manipulating the results of the October 20 election in favor of Morales to prevent a runoff, sparking an escalation in demonstrations nationwide. More than 30 people have been killed in clashes with security forces or between rival political supporters.

The US Department of State asked family members of government employees to leave Bolivia on November 12 due to ongoing political uncertainty and sociopolitical tensions in the country. It also warned American citizens against traveling to Bolivia and said the US government had limited ability to provide emergency services.

Advice

Individuals are advised to avoid traveling to Bolivia, particularly to La Paz, until the situation normalizes.

Travelers in La Paz and across Bolivia are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business in demonstration- and strike-affected areas, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.