Elections in Bolivia
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Bolivia elects on national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature. The president and the vice-president are elected for a five-year term by the people. The National Congress (Congreso Nacional) has two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) has 130 members, elected for a five-year term using the Additional Member System, and in the case of seven indigenous seats by usos y costumbres. The Chamber of Senators (Cámara de Senadores) has 36 members: each of the country's nine departments returns four senators allocated proportionally.
Bolivia has a multi-party system, with numerous parties. During the first 23 years of renewed democracy beginning 1982, no one party succeeded in gaining power alone, and parties had to work with each other to form coalition governments. Since 2005, a single party has achieved a parliamentary majority.
Ahead of any national election a period of prohibition takes effect. This is with the intention of preventing inebriated nationals voting in error. Nationals are also forbidden from travelling around during the same period. This is to prevent voters from voting in more than one district. On polling day it is difficult to obtain a taxi or bus, due to the limitations placed upon travel and transport.
- 1 Schedule
- 2 Electoral system
- 3 History of elections in Bolivia
- 4 Latest elections
- 4.1 2016 Presidential re-election referendum
- 4.2 2015 Autonomy referendum
- 4.3 2015 Regional election
- 4.4 2014 General election
- 4.5 2011 Judicial election
- 4.6 2011 Special municipal election
- 4.7 2010 Regional election
- 4.8 2009 General election
- 4.9 2009 Constitutional referendum
- 4.10 2008 Revocation referendum
- 5 Past elections
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|Type||Presidential and National Congress (December 6)||Regional (April)||Judicial (October 16)||only special elections||Presidential and National Congress (October 12)||Regional (April)|
|President and vice president||None||President and vice president||None|
|National Congress||All seats||None||All seats||None|
|Departments, provinces, and municipalities||None||All positions||None||All positions|
|This section needs to be updated. (February 2015)|
National Congress (November)
National Congress (November)
|6 November||None||6 November|
|National Congress||6 November||None||6 November|
|Provinces, cities and municipalities||6 November||None||6 November|
The president is directly elected by the people, by majority. A candidate has to receive at least 50% of the vote, or 40% of the vote, and 10% more than the second candidate to be elected, otherwise a second round is held with the top two finishers to determine the winner.
The 130 members in the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) (excluding the seven special seats) are elected using the additional member system. 63 seats are elected in single-member districts using first-past-the-post voting. 60 additional seats are elected using closed list party-list proportional representation in districts of varying sizes corresponding to Bolivia's nine departments. For parties receiving at least 3% of the national vote, the seats are distributed using the D'Hondt method, subtracting the number of seats the respective party gained from the single-member districts in the respective department. If one party has more seats from the single-member districts alone than the proportion of list vote it received, the extra seats are taken from the last allocated list seats.
The remaining seven seats are reserved indigenous seats elected by the usos y costumbres, using first-past-the-post voting. A voter can only vote in one of either the normal constituencies or special constituencies.
Both the senate, and the proportional part of the Chamber of Deputies is elected based on the vote for the presidential candidates, while the deputies from the single-member districts are elected using separate votes. Party lists are required to alternate between men and women, while candidates in single-member districts are required to have an alternate, of the opposite sex. At least 50% of the single-member deputies are required to be women 
History of elections in Bolivia
Indirect elections, 1825-50
Elections were conducted in the early Republican period using multiple levels of electors, each of which would elect members of the next higher level, culminating in the President.
Direct elections with restricted suffrage, 1839 and 1850-1938
In the elections of 1839, however, the president was elected by a majority of all voters. This system became the norm beginning in 1850. Voting requirements included a minimum property or income or service in one of the professions, and forbid all those "in domestic service" from voting. Indigenous peoples were effectively excluded from the franchise.
Expanding electorate, 1938-1951
Under the Constitution of 1938, property restrictions on voting were removed however the vote was still restricted to those who male, literate, and of age. Elections were held in 1940 and 1951, and saw a dramatic expansion of the electorate.
Universal suffrage and interruptions in democracy, 1952-79
Shortly after coming to power through the 1952 Revolution, the National Revolutionary Movement instituted universal suffrage, ending literacy requirements and racial restrictions which had massively reduced the Bolivian electorate up to that time. General elections were held in 1956, 1960, and 1964; and purely legislative elections were held in 1958 and 1962. Democracy was interrupted in 1964 by René Barrientos Ortuño, who proceeded to hold and win an election in 1966 and to convoke the Constituent Assembly of 1966-67 to rewrite the Constitution of Bolivia. Following Barrientos' death in 1969, democracy was further interrupted by military rule until 1979, including the eight-year dictatorship of Hugo Bánzer Suarez.
Democratic transition and final dictatorship, 1979-82
In a chaotic period of transition marked by numerous coups d'état, three elections were held in 1978, 1979, 1980. Parliamentary majorities were not obtained in 1978 and 1979 and alliance building was interrupted by coups. Lydia Gueiler, an elected member of the National Congress assumed power constitutionally from November 1979 to mid-1980. The results of the 1980 elections were the basis for the post-1982 parliament and the 1982-85 government of Hernán Siles Zuazo.
Multiparty democracy, 1982-present
Elections have been held regularly in the democratic period that began in 1982. General elections were held in 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2005, and 2009. A Constituent Assembly was elected in 2006. The 1985 Organic Law of Municipalities restored local elections for mayor and created a legislative body, the municipal council, in each municipality. The first local elections were held in 1987, followed by further elections in 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2004, and 2010. Similarly, departmental elections for Prefect began in 2006 and elections for Departmental Legislative Assemblies began in 2010. Following the passage of the 2009 Constitution, the National Electoral Court was replaced in late 2010 by a fourth branch of government, the Plurinational Electoral Organ, whose highest body is the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
2016 Presidential re-election referendum
On February 21, 2016, Bolivian voters rejected an amendment to the country's constitution that would have allowed President Evo Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera to run again for re-election in 2019. The amendment, if approved, would have removed Article 168 of the constitution, which allows these officeholders to put themselves forward for re-election only once. The proposed constitutional reform was approved by a combined session of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly on September 26, 2015, by a vote of 112 to 41. Law 757, which convenes the February referendum, was passed 113 to 43, and was promulgated on November 5, 2015. On February 24, Morales accepted the defeat of the proposed constitutional reform.
2015 Autonomy referendum
On September 20, 2015, five western and central departments—Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, La Paz, Oruro, and Potosí—voted on whether to approve "organic charters" (constitutions of autonomous governance), as did three municipalities and two indigenous territories. Voters in all five departments rejected their charters of autonomy, which were drafted by MAS-IPSP–led legislatures.
|Department||Yes votes||%||No votes||%||Blank||Null||Total ballots cast||Eligible voters||Turnout as % of electorate|
|Sources: "Referendo autonómico: A cómputo final ganó el No en cinco departamentos". Agencia de Noticias Fides. 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2016-03-13.|
2015 Regional election
2014 General election
The last election for national executive and legislative offices, including President and Vice President and the Plurinational Legislative Assembly was held in late 2014, with new terms beginning 2015. In September 2010, President Evo Morales suggested he was eligible to run for re-election in 2014. However, Bolivian presidents are only eligible to be re-elected to one successive term under Article 168 of the Constitution. Morales and his supporters argued that his first term, 2006–10, was incomplete. Juan del Granado, leader of the Without Fear Movement (MSM), challenged its former ally, the Movement towards Socialism to carry out a constitutional referendum if it wanted Morales to stand for re-election. Morales proceeded to win the election with a large margin.
|Movement for Socialism||Evo Morales||3,173,304||61.36||88||0[a]||25||–1|
|Democrat Unity||Samuel Doria Medina||1,253,288||24.23||32||–||9||–|
|Christian Democratic Party||Jorge Quiroga||467,311||9.04||10||–||2||–|
|Movement without Fear||Juan del Granado||140,285||2.71||0||-4[b]||0||–|
|Green Party of Bolivia||Fernando Vargas||137,240||2.65||0||–||0||–|
|Total (94.2% of ballots cast; 86.6% of electorate)||5,171,428||100||130||0||36||0|
|Invalid (null) votes||208,061||3.8|
|Total ballots cast (91.9% of electorate)||5,487,676|
|Source:Tribunal Supremo Electoral (Final Results in Spanish; Final results by department, province, and municipality).
2011 Judicial election
The first Bolivian judicial election is scheduled to be held on 5 December 2010. However, officials of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and of the MAS majority in the Plurinational Legislative Assembly have suggested that it will be delayed into 2011. The national vote will elect magistrates to serve on the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Spanish: Tribunal Supremo de Justicia), the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (Spanish: Tribunal Constitucional Plurinacional), the Agro-environmental Tribunal (Spanish: Tribunal Agroambiental), and members of the Council of the Judiciary (Spanish: Consejo de la Magistratura).
2011 Special municipal election
A special election is due be held for the mayor of five cities where mayors have stepped down or been indicted. In July 2011, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal formally convoked the elections for Mayor in three cities: Sucre, Quillacollo, and Pazña for December 18, 2011.
|City||Outgoing Mayor (Party)||Notes|
|Sucre, Chuquisaca||Jaime Barrón (PAÍS)||Resigned in July 2010 under indictment for May 24, 2008 violence|
|Quillacollo, Cochabamba||Héctor Cartagena (UNE)|
|Punata, Cochabamba||Víctor Balderrama (Insurgente Martín Uchu)||Suspended under indictment for aggravated rape of a minor on August 10, 2010 (convicted September 2011); pledged to resign to allow new elections|
|Pazña, Oruro||Víctor Centeno (MAS-IPSP)||Resigned on 15 June 2010 under "psychological pressure and regional divisions"|
|Catacora, La Paz|
2010 Regional election
Departmental and municipal authorities will be elected on 4 April 2010. Among the officials to be elected are:
- Governors of all nine departments
- Members of Departamental Legislative Assemblies in each department; 23 seats in these Assemblies will represent indigenous communities, and have been selected by traditional usos y costumbres in the weeks prior to the election
- Provincial Subgovernors and Municipal Corregidors (executive authorities) in Beni
- Sectional Development Executives at the provincial level in Tarija
- Mayors and Council members in all 337 municipalities
- The five members of the Regional Assembly in the autonomous region of Gran Chaco
The political parties contesting elections in each department are as follows:
- Beni: Amazon Convergence (Convergencia Amazónica), Beni First (Primero El Beni), Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario; MNR), Movement towards Socialism (Movimiento Al Socialismo - Instrumento Político por la Soberanía de los Pueblos; MAS-IPSP), and Autonomous Nationalities for Change and Empowerment (Nacionalidades Autónomas por el Cambio y Empoderamiento; NACER).
- Chuquisaca:We are all Chuquisaca (Chuquisaca somos Todos), Renewing Freedom and Democracy (Libertad y Democracia Renovadora), Falange April 19, Without Fear Movement (Movimiento sin Miedo; MSM), and Movement towards Socialism.
- Cochabamba: All for Cochabamba (Todos por Cochabamba), Revolutionary Nationalist Movement, Without Fear Movement, and Movement towards Socialism.
- La Paz:National Unity Front (Frente de Unidad Nacional), Patriotic Social Alliance (Alianza Social Patriótica), Revolutionary Nationalist Movement, Movement towards Socialism, Without Fear Movement, and Movement for Sovereignty (Movimiento por la Soberanía).
- Oruro: National Unity Front (Frente de Unidad Nacional), Revolutionary Nationalist Movement, Movement towards Socialism, and Without Fear Movement.
- Pando: Popular Consensus (Consenso Popular), Without Fear Movement, and Movement towards Socialism.
- Potosí: Potosí Regional Civic Front (Frente Cívico Regional Potosinista), Uqarikuna Citizen Association (Agrupación Ciudadana Uqarikuna), Social Alliance (Alianza Social), Revolutionary Nationalist Movement, Movement towards Socialism.
- Santa Cruz: Broad Front of Revolutionary Nationalist Movement and Autonomy for Bolivia (Frente Amplio), All for Santa Cruz (Todos por Santa Cruz), Nationalist Citizen Force (Fuerza Ciudadana Nacionalista), Greens (Verdes), Without Fear Movement, and Movement towards Socialism.
- Tarija: Path towards Change (Camino al Cambio (Alianza Departamental)), National Autonomous Power (Poder Autonómico Nacional), and Movement towards Socialism.
2009 General election
|Evo Morales Ayma||Movement for Socialism||2.943.209||64,22||88||26|
|Manfred Reyes Villa||Plan Progress for Bolivia – National Convergence||1.212.795||26,46||37||10|
|Samuel Doria Medina||National Unity Front||258.971||5,65||3|
|René Joaquino Carlos||Social Alliance||106.027||2,31||2|
|Ana María Flores||Social Patriotic Unity Movement||23.257||0,51|
|Alejo Véliz||Peoples for Liberty and Sovereignty||12.995||0,28|
|Rime Choquehuanca||Social Democratic Bolivia||9.905||0,22|
|Source: Comisión Nacional Electoral|
2009 Constitutional referendum
In elections held on 25 January 2009, Bolivian voters approved a new Constitution.
|Bolivian constitutional referendum, 2009|
|Yes or no||Votes||Percentage|
|Invalid or blank votes||151,100||4.30%|
|Cap on maximum landholdings||Votes||Percentage|
|Invalid or blank votes||1,081,678||30.84%|
2008 Revocation referendum
|Position||Party||Candidate||Votes against recall||% against recall||% threshold||Result|
|Movement Toward Socialism||Juan Evo Morales Ayma
Álvaro García Linera
|Prefect of Beni Department||PODEMOS||Ernesto Suárez||64,866||64.25%||44.64%||Survived|
|Prefect of Chuquisaca Department||Allianza Comité Interinstitucional||Savina Cuéllar||Not voting|
|Prefect of Cochabamba Department||Nueva Fuerza Republicana||Manfred Reyes Villa||195,290||35.19%||47.64%||Recalled|
|Prefect of La Paz Department||José Luis Paredes||362,214||35.48%||37.99%||Recalled|
|Prefect of Oruro Department||Alberto Luis Aguilar||84,364||50.86%||40.95%||Survived|
|Prefect of Pando Department||PODEMOS||Leopoldo Fernández||14,841||56.21%||48.03%||Survived|
|Prefect of Potosí Department||Mario Virreira||171,629||79.08%||40.69%||Survived|
|Prefect of Santa Cruz Department||Autonomy for Bolivia||Ruben Costas||451,191||66.43%||47.87%||Survived|
|Prefect of Tarija Department||Civic Committee||Mario Cossío||78,170||58.06%||45.65%||Survived|
|Source: National Election Court of Bolivia|
2006 Constituent Assembly election
2005 Presidential election
2005 Parliamentary election
|Movement Toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo)||1,544,374||53.7||72||12|
|Social and Democratic Power (Poder Democrático y Social, PODEMOS)||821,745||28.6||43||13|
|National Unity Front (Frente de Unidad Nacional)||224,090||7.8||8||1|
|Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario)||185,859||6.5||7||1|
|Indigenous Pachakuti Movement (Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti)||61,948||2.2||-||-|
|New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana)||19,667||0.7||-||-|
|Agrarian Patriotic Front of Bolivia (Frente Patriótico Agropecuario de Bolivia)||8,737||0.3||-||-|
|Social Union of the Workers of Bolivia (Unión Social de los Trabajadores de Bolivia)||7,381||0.3||-||-|
|Total (turnout: 84.534 %)||2,873,801||100.0||130||27|
|Source: CNE and Rulers|
- "Bolivia: Ley del Régimen Electoral, 30 de junio de 2010". Lexivox. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- Barragán R., Rossana (2005). "Ciudadanía y elecciones, convenciones y debates". Regiones y poder constituyente en Bolivia: Una historia de pactos y disputas. Cuaderno de futuro. PNUD. pp. 287–294.
- Cordero Carraffa, Carlos Hugo (February 2007). Historia Electoral de Bolivia: 1952-2007 (PDF). Cuadernos de trabajo. Corte Nacional Electoral. p. 27.
- Córdova, Eduardo (2009). "Cochabamba es el centro es la ausencia: Impulsos estatales y sociales de la descentralización en Cochabamba (1994–2008)". Decursos: Revista de Ciencias Sociales. XI (20): 61–95 .
- "Referendo constitucional 2016: Resultados preliminares". Órgano electoral plurinacional. Tribunal Supremo Electoral. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- "La ALP sancionó la Ley de Reforma parcial de la CPE". Vicepresidencia del Estado. 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
- Bolivia passes law to allow Morales to run for fourth term Reuters, 25 September 2015
- Casey, Nicholas (24 Feb 2016). "Bolivian President Concedes Defeat in Term-Limit Referendum". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- "Bolivia's Morales admits loss in referendum on term limits". BBC News. BBC. 24 Feb 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- "Referendo para Aprobación de Estatutos Autonómicos y Cartas Orgánicas 2015". Tribunal Supremo Electoral.
- "Del Granado reta a Evo a ir a referéndum". Los Tiempos. Cochabamba. 2010-09-23. pp. A1, A2. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
- "Ley aplaza elección de autoridades judiciales," La Razón, 12 August 2010.
- "Elecciones judiciales serán el 5 diciembre," Los Tiempos, 5 February 2010.
- "Convocan a comicios electorales en 3 municipios". Página Siete. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
- "Condenan con 25 años de prisión al Alcalde suspendido de Punata". La Razón. 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- "En Quillacollo y Pazña habrán nuevas elecciones para alcalde," Bolivianpress.com, 16 June 2011.
- Corte Nacional Electoral, Elecciones departamentales y municipales 2010.
- Corte Nacional Electoral, ¿Qué eligiremos el 4 de abril?.
- "Referéndum Nacional Constituyente 2009". National Electoral Court of Bolivia. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- "Referéndum Nacional Constituyente 2009". National Electoral Court of Bolivia. 2009-01-28. Retrieved 2009-01-28.