Latest polls suggests Bolivian President Evo Morales will be reelected for a third term in a landslide victory on October 12.
One week before the vote, Morales' support hit 57.3%. The latest statistics from pollster Tal Cual Comunicacion Estrategica indicate a huge win for the left-wing Morales, first elected in 2005 on the back of huge protests against neoliberialism.
The candidate for the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) is enjoying his highest-ever approval rating, 39.4 percentage points ahead of opposition leader and nearest rival Samuel Doria Medina of the National Unity Front (U.D.), whose own share of the electorate has dwindled to 17.9%.
If these statistics translate to the election itself, Morales will win the vote without the need for a second round.
Re-election would result in the country's first indigenous leader's third term as president. While the 2009 constitution only allows two consecutive presidential terms, last year the Supreme Court said that his first 2006-09 term did not apply, as it preceded the adoption of the new constitution, approved by popular referendum in 2009, with 61% support.
Over the past decade, the Morales government has achieved several significant accomplishments, of which 10 are listed below.
1. Since 2005 has Morales managed to help facilitate the passing of a new constitution and implement a variety of state funded social programs, which have reduced extreme poverty from 38.2% in 2005, to 21.6% in 2012.
2. Morales’ government has adopted several macro-economic policies, to increase state revenue from the country’s natural resources in order to invest in social programs. Morales’ strategy helped increase investment in public spending by over 750% over the last nine years.
3. Under the Bolivia Chages, Evo Comes Through initiative, Morales’ government provided small-scale infrastructure projects to many underprivileged communities, allocating over US$1 billion for over 5000 projects throughout the country including the construction of medical clinics, schools and gymnasiums.
4. Since Morales came to power in 2005, the Bolivian government has increased its hydrocarbon gas production from 33 million cubic meters to 56 million cubic meters last year. As a result, the Bolivian government estimates that it will become completely self-reliant on natural gas production by next year.
5. Another factor that has contributed to the reduction in poverty is the increase to the real minimum wage. According to International Labor Organization (ILO), over the last two years Bolivia has achieved the highest increase (104% from 2005-2013) in real minimum wage than any other Latin American country.
6. A central component of the Morales poverty reduction strategy was the creation and promotion of strong food security policies.The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report states that as a result of inclusive and pro-poor food security policies, Bolivia saw a rapid decline of hunger by 7.4% during 2009-2011 and 2012-2014. The study also noted that Bolivia experienced a sharp decrease in chronic undernourishment in children less than three years of age, which fell from 41.7% in 1989 to 18.5% in 2012.
7. Another main political achievement under Morales was the approval of a new constitution which incorporated many important changes including, granting Bolivian investment priority over foreign investment, and increased autonomy and political participation for the country’s indigenous population.
8. In 2009, the Morales administration pushed forward a new constitution, which recognised the traditional uses of the coca leaf for the first time in Bolivian history. Bolivia then successfully petitioned the United Nations for a reservation that legally permits coca growing and its licit uses within its borders. In July, the United Nations issued a report, which found that that coca cultivation in Bolivia fell 9% last year, and a massive 26% in the past three years.
9. Since 2005, industrialisation has become a key aspect of Morales’ economic policy, particularly in the area of transportation and energy production. The industrialisation initiatives also form part of a broad strategy to transform the South American nation into a regional energy hub.
10. From a macroeconomic perspective, Morales’ government has made significant progress. From 2005-2013, it’s total GDP growth tripled. Bolivia has also managed to increase its international reserves to 48% of it's GDP
[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]