As a result of last December's elections in Bolivia, NIMD and the Fundación Boliviana para la Democracia Multipartidaria (FBDM, or Bolivian Foundation for Multiparty Democracy) have intensified their debate on how to work under the new political circumstances.
|2009 Bolivian election results
President: Evo Morales, MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) - 64%
Vice-president: Álvaro Garcia Linera (MAS)
Senate: 36 members including 26 MAS and 10 PPB (Plan Progresso para Bolivia)
Parliament: 130 members including 88 MAS, 37 PPB, 3 UN (Frente de Unidad Nacional) and 2 AS (Alianza Social)
Read the final results, published by the National Electoral Court of Bolivia (Spanish only)
President Evo Morales increased his share of votes from 54% in 2005 to over 64% in 2009. A total of 95% of the more than five million registered voters turned out to vote, giving his Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS, Movement Towards Socialism) a strong mandate.
MAS’s majorities in the Parliament and Senate will allow it to implement its political project without legislative difficulties. While this is of course a positive result for supporters of MAS, other more traditional political parties have arguably lost their role of political aggregation and representation, generating a situation in which the multiparty system is at stake.
The opposition parties have in effect been pushed to the margins and will have little power to force agreements or to carry out effective supervision of the Parliament.
Within this context, an important recent development in the work of FBDM has been its opening of offices in Santa Cruz and Tarija, important cities in the so-called Media Luna, a region where the political opposition to the government has traditionally been strong, but where support for Morales in the December elections actually increased.
The opening of these offices will assist the FBDM in developing a national outreach. As an organisation that aims towards a pluralistic society, it is essential that the FBDM has the ability to relate to a variety of political positions. This can be done in a more effective way if the organisation is present in both the Bolivian regions and the capital.
In March, NIMD staff will visit Bolivia to further discuss the possible roles and strategies of FBDM in the coming years. It is hoped that these steps will help consolidate the national outreach of FBDM’s work and will open more space for joint initiatives with regional and local political actors.