This passed sunday the 21/2 there was an election day here in Bolivia.
In short, the bolivians are to vote if they want the current president Evo Morales to stay in power for a fourth term or not, longer than the persisting 5 years. Evo has thus already ruled for 10 years. It has been interesting to follow this since it is currently the ‘topic on everyones lips’ weather ‘Evo si’ or ‘Evo no’.From what the local people here have been telling me, the dilemma is wether Evo will be good for Bolivias future or not. When Evo came to power he made a lot of positive changes for the indigenious population, which Evo is as well and is the first president to have that origin in Bolivia (crazy huh!). So the people of the land, the farmers, want him to stay since they’re afraid of going back to how it was before Evo. But the people in the city argue that Evo has not done that much in the later years, and generally says no so that a new leader can be elected in 2019.
This sunday I joined Freddy and Carmela when they were going to vote in order to learn how it was done. I wouldn’t say that it was very different from the process in Sweden actually. At the voting place, which was a school, all the people who belong to the area have their name on a list together with a number. The number refers to the table which you need to go to in order to cast your vote. By the table you identify yourself and get a voting card. You then enter an empty room were you cross the yes/no. I thought that the main difference was that the whole city was so peaceful and happy. On election day here you are not allowed to drive motor vehicles and for 48 hours you are not allowed to buy or consume any alcohol. So while walking to the neighborhood’s voting hall, many of the local people were out with their families, strolling with ice cream or food in their hands, children going on their little tricycles, playing and laughing together like it was any other sunny Sunday afternoon. It was really nice actually. I had the idea that people would be very serious, but instead they seemed to see it as an opportunity to be with their families and socialize with people in the neighbourhood.
I can tell you that the No side is currently leading the election, even though not all votes have been accounted for yet. 🙂
Update: Apparently it is official now, Cochabamba (and Bolivia) dice No!