Bolivians vote in native, regional polls amid COVID-19 issues | Elections Information

About 7.1 million folks will head to polling stations throughout the nation for the obligatory vote on Sunday.

Bolivians are voting in municipal and regional elections on Sunday amid a surging COVID-19 pandemic that has stretched the nation’s healthcare system.

“After restoring democracy in 2020, immediately it’s as much as us to elect our territorial representatives,” President Luis Arce tweeted shortly after polls opened at 8am native time (12:00 GMT).

“Bolivia is a democratic mannequin in a pandemic,” he mentioned.

About 7.1 million folks will head to polling stations throughout the nation for the obligatory vote to elect 9 governors and 336 mayors, in addition to their respective regional meeting members and municipal councillors.

Bolivia has reported greater than 253,000 instances of COVID-19 and greater than 11,800 coronavirus-related deaths, in line with Johns Hopkins College knowledge, whereas healthcare staff went on strike final month to demand stricter public well being measures.

The president of the nation’s electoral authority, Salvador Romero, welcomed Bolivia’s effort to carry two nationwide elections amid the pandemic.

The vote comes simply months after Arce of the MAS Occasion of former Bolivian President Evo Morales gained Bolivia’s presidential elections in October of final 12 months.

He gained 55 p.c of the vote, avoiding a possible runoff, whereas MAS additionally gained majorities in each homes of Congress.

“Now our nice problem is to rebuild our homeland in peace, to regain pleasure, stability and hope for a greater tomorrow for all Bolivians,” Arce mentioned on social media after the outcomes have been introduced.

“We gained’t let down the belief that folks have positioned in us.”

In accordance with latest polls, MAS candidates are dealing with challenges in municipal contests in components of La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

Individuals queue to vote throughout regional elections on March 7, 2021, in Laja, 30km west of La Paz, Bolivia [Aizar Raldes/AFP]

The identical polls predicted the political opposition was favoured to win the governorship within the area of Santa Cruz, can be in an in depth race for the governor put up in La Paz, and would fall brief in Cochabamba.

Al Jazeera’s Daniel Schweimler, reporting from Argentina, mentioned the pandemic was the central challenge on voters’ minds main as much as the election.

“The pandemic has starkly highlighted the problems that the majority concern Bolivian voters,” mentioned Schweimler, pointing to well being and financial points.

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