Bolivia´s April 4 local and regional elections solidified political divides in the country with President Evo Morales´ Movement to Socialism, or MAS party, winning gubernatorial races in the six of nine departments, including the lowland Pando province.
Right-wing opposition parties won governor´s offices in the natural gas-rich eastern Beni, Santa Cruz and Tarija regions, which make up the opposition stronghold region along with Pando, known as the “media luna” or “half-moon,” which is responsible for close to one-third of the country´s GDP.
Morales, who was reelected in December with 64 percent of the vote, is also facing opposition parties that are also leftists.
While the MAS won in 220 of the 337 municipal races, the Movimiento Sin Miedo, or “Fearless Movement,” lead by the outgoing mayor of La Paz, Juan del Granado, a former Morales ally, won in the capital and in the mining city of Oruro.
More than 5.3 million Bolivians voted for nine governors, 337 mayors, 1,800 town councilpeople, and 267 department-level lawmakers. The vote marked the first election of department-level lawmakers. Establishing a legislature in each department was a concession in the new constitution for the eastern departments´ push for autonomy.