Jonas Wolff | 2020

The Turbulent End of an Era in Bolivia: Contested Elections, the Ouster of Evo Morales, and the Beginning of a Transition Towards an Uncertain Future

in: Revista de ciencia política (Santiago), 40:2, 163-186.


In Bolivia, the year 2019 marks the end of an era: In November, after almost 14 years in power, Evo Morales was forced to prematurely leave the presidency and, shortly thereafter, also the country. This dramatic event was preceded by contentious elections, allegations of electoral fraud, massive post-electoral protests, and the switching of sides by the police and the military. Rather than pacifying the situation, Morales’ resignation led to a further escalation of the conflict, involving violent clashes between protesters and security forces. In the end, however, a negotiated solution of the crisis was reached that enabled the controversial interim president Jeanine Áñez to call new elections.

In an attempt to make sense of this remarkable chain of events, the article (1) summarizes key causes that have made the once invincible Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) government so vulnerable and (2) analyzes the October elections as well as the sociopolitical dynamics that unfolded afterwards with a focus on key controversies surrounding the elections (electoral fraud?) and the fall of Morales (a coup?). Finally, (3) the article briefly assesses the dynamics under the current interim government and looks at the forthcoming general elections, which are scheduled for 6 September 2020.

More about this publication here.

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