1979 Bolivian general election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Coat of arms of Bolivia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Flag of Bolivia.svg Bolivia portal

General elections were held in Bolivia on 1 July 1979.[1] As no candidate in the presidential elections received a majority of the vote, the National Congress was required to elect a President. However, the Congress failed to elect a candidate after three ballots, and instead selected Senate leader Wálter Guevara to serve as Interim President for a year on 8 August.[2] Guevara was later overthrown by a military coup led by Alberto Natusch on 31 October. Fresh elections were held in June 1980.

Although the Democratic and Popular Union received the most votes in the Congressional elections, the Revolutionary Nationalist Movement-Alliance (A–MNR) won the most seats, largely as a result of the electoral system giving more seats to sparsely populated rural areas where the A–MNR was more popular.[3]


General elections had previously been held in July 1978, the first since 1966, with several military coups taking place during the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] Although Juan Pereda of the Nationalist Union of the People won the presidential elections, more votes were cast than there were registered voters.[4] After examining a number of allegations of fraud and other irregularities, the Electoral Court decided to annul the results on 20 July.[5] The following day, Pereda was installed as President following a military coup. Pereda himself was overthrown by yet another military coup in November, which saw General David Padilla assume the presidency,[6] promising to hold fresh elections in July the following year.[3]


A total of 1,378 candidates contested the 144 seats in Congress.[3] Several alliances were formed for the elections:[7]

Alliance Parties
Democratic and Popular Union Communist Party
Leftwing Revolutionary Nationalist Movement
Movement of the National Left
Alliance of the National Left
Popular Movement for National Liberation
Revolutionary Left Movement
Revolutionary Party of the Nationalist Left
Revolutionary Party of the Workers of Bolivia
Socialist Party–Atahuichi
Tupaj Katari Revolutionary Movement
Popular Alliance for National Integration Revolutionary Agrarian Movement of the Bolivian Peasantry
Bolivian Socialist Falange
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement-Alliance Authentic Revolutionary Party
Christian Democratic Party
Communist Party of Bolivia (Marxist–Leninist)
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement
Tupaj Katari Revolutionary Movement–Chila


Election result by department:
  Departments where Paz Estenssoro won
  Departments where Siles won
Party Presidential candidate Votes % Seats
Chamber Senate
Democratic and Popular Union Hernán Siles Zuazo 528,696 36.0 38 8
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement-Alliance Víctor Paz Estenssoro 527,184 35.9 48 16
Nationalist Democratic Action Hugo Banzer 218,857 14.9 19 3
Socialist Party-1 Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz 70,765 4.8 5 0
Popular Alliance for National Integration René Bernal Escalante 60,262 4.1 5 0
Indian Movement Túpac Katari Luciano Tapia Quisbert 28,344 1.9 1 0
Bolivian Union Party Walter Gonzales Valda 18,976 1.3 1 0
Workers' Vanguard Party Ricardo Catoira 16,560 1.1 0 0
Invalid/blank votes 223,856
Total 1,693,500 100 117 27
Registered voters/turnout 1,871,070 90.5
Source: Nohlen

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p133 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  2. ^ Report on the situation of human rights in the Republic of Bolivia: Chapter IV: Political rights Archived February 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine OAS
  3. ^ a b c 1979 IPU
  4. ^ Nohlen, p143
  5. ^ Waltraud Q Morales (2003) A brief history of Bolivia New York: Facts On File, p195
  6. ^ Nohlen, p157
  7. ^ Nohlen, p139