Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations issued a note saying that the Brazilian government expects the audit of Bolivian elections initiated Thursday (Oct. 31) “will bring about a number of serious and rigorous results on the legitimacy of the vote ??? in an attempt to observe the sovereign wish of the Bolivian people and their leaders.”
The audit will be carried out by a mission of the Organization of American States (OAS), made up of 30 specialists from several countries. The mission should take up to 12 days to identify manipulated data and fraud that may have benefited current President Evo Morales’s Movement for Socialism (MAS).
In the statement, the Foreign Ministry says the government has been concerned about the developments of the general elections in Bolivia, held on October 20, adding that Brazil advocates “a democratic, transparent, just and free process, which honors the sovereignty of the Bolivian people.”
On Wednesday (30), ten days after the elections and following nine days of protests countrywide—included two dead and some 160 injured—the Bolivian government and the OAS entered an agreement to audit the vote. The opposition, led by candidate Carlos Mesa, Morales’s rival, did not acknowledge the move and says the terms of the audit were outlined unilaterally, without the participation of members of the opposition and society.
On October 20, Bolivia’s Electoral Court said a second round would be held between Morales and Mesa. However, after the vote count was temporarily suspended—which led to suspicions and complaints—Bolivia’s Electoral Court announced a change in trends and declared the victory of Morales in the first round with 47.08 percent of the ballot against Mesa’s 36.51 percent.
Under Bolivian law, a first-round victory is declared if more than half of the votes go to a single candidate, or if the best-performing candidate has at least 40 percent of the ballot plus a minimum ten-percent lead from the second best hopeful.