Authorities in Bolivia deployed more than 24,000 additional security personnel across the country in preparation for the general election on Sunday, October 18, due to the risk of unrest. Except for those with permission, it is forbidden to drive public and private vehicles on the day of the elections. Those who fail to comply may be arrested and fined by authorities. Additionally, cable car services will remain suspended, as well as land, lake, rail, and air transportation services throughout the country until the day after elections.
Whilst the outcome of the election currently remains unpredictable, authorities are preparing for unrest, especially due to the scenes of widespread unrest witnessed in November last year following the 2019 general election. Protesters in Bolivia often implement roadblocks, therefore, disruptions to overland transport should be anticipated in the vicinity of any unrest. A heightened security presence is expected in the build-up to, during, and in the aftermath of the election.
Bolivia will hold its presidential election on October 18 after previous delays due to the coronavirus disease (CVOID-19) pandemic. The election comes after last year's presidential election was annulled due to widespread protests over the results which led to the ousting of President Evo Morales. If no candidate receives the required 50 percent of the vote or 40 percent with a ten-point lead, a run-off election will be held on November 29. Seven candidates will run in the election, although only three have significant support. Luis Arce of Morales' former party Movement for Socialism (MAS) leads the polls with 30 percent at the time of writing, suggesting a run-off is likely.
Those in Bolivia are advised to monitor the situation, remain vigilant due to the threat of electoral-related protests, avoid the vicinity of political gatherings or demonstrations, refrain from discussing politically sensitive topics in public, and heed all directives issued by local authorities.
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