Parliamentary Chamber: Cámara de Senadores


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  Cámara de Senadores

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  30 June 2002

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the Chamber of Senators on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.

Background and outcome of elections:

  On 30 June 2002, Bolivians went to the polls to choose their next President and elect a new Congress.

The electoral campaign focused on the economy as Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in South America, posting an economic growth in 2001 of 0.5 percent. About 65% of urban Bolivians live below the poverty line. The figure exceeds 90 per cent in the countryside. Nearly 12% of all urban Bolivians are officially out of work (accurate figures for rural unemployment do not exist, but are estimated to be many times higher). Many of those who do work only earn the nation's low monthly minimum wage of USD69. In this context, many of the 11 presidential candidates had urged radically changing the political system and overturning the free-market economy.

The elections were held in a peaceful and orderly manner. Police patrolled the streets of the capital, enforcing a national law that prohibits unauthorized traffic on election day. The ban was designed to keep political parties from transporting groups of voters around the city to cast multiple ballots.

In the balloting for President none of the candidates earned the "50% plus one" margin required by the Constitution, for an outright electoral victory. The new Congress had to decide which of the two top vote-getters, former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada or the four-term mayor of the Cochabamba city, Mr Manfred Reyes Villa, leader of the New Republican Force party, would be the nation's next leader. The surprise in the presidential election was Mr Evo Morales. The long-time leader of Bolivian coca leaf farmers finished a close third out of the eleven candidates in the presidential race.

The conservative Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) won 36 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 11 in the Senate, while the opposition Movement for Socialism (MAS) garnered the second-highest amount of seats in Congress, 27 in the Chamber of Deputies and 8 in the Senate. The Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) obtained 26 and 5 seats respectively, the New Republican Force (NFR), 25 and 5, the Nationalist Democratic Action (ADN), 4 and 1, the Pachakuti Indigenous Movement (MIP), the Unity for Civic Solidarity Party (UCS) and the Socialist Party (PS) with 6, 5 and 1 seats respectively in the Chamber of Deputies and none in the Senate.

On 2 August 2002, Ms. Mirtha Quevedo (MNR) was elected Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and Mr. Guido Añez (MIR) President of the Senate. Two days after, on 4 August 2002 a combined session of both chambers of the Congress duly elected Mr Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (MNR) as new President.

The new President, Mr Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada of the MNR will be heading a coalition with the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) plus the added support of the right-wing Nationalist Democratic Action (ADN) and the Unity for Civic Solidarity Party (UCS). On the opposition side, there will be Mr Evo Morales' Movement for Socialism (MAS), the New Republican Force (NFR), the Pachakuti Indigenous Movement (MIP) and the Socialist Party (PS).

Round no 1 (30 June 2002): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 4 165 082
Voters 2 778 488 (67 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 215 220
Valid votes 2 563 268

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) 11
Movement for Socialism (MAS) 8
Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) 5
New Republican Force (NFR) 2
Nationalist Democratic Action (ADN) 1

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 23
Women: 4
Percent of women: 14.81

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Copyright © 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union