World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Elections in Bolivia

Article Id: WHEBN0001359696
Reproduction Date:

Title: Elections in Bolivia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Free Bolivia Movement, Pachakuti Indigenous Movement, Socialist Party-1, Human rights in Bolivia, Bolivian constitutional referendum, 2009
Collection: Elections in Bolivia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Elections in Bolivia

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Elections in Bolivia gives information on elections and election results in Bolivia.

Bolivia elects on national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature. The president and the vice-president are elected for a five-year term by the people. The National Congress (Congreso Nacional) has two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) has 130 members, elected for a five-year term using the Additional Member System, and in the case of seven indigenous seats by usos y costumbres. The Chamber of Senators (Cámara de Senadores) has 36 members: each of the country's nine departments returns four senators allocated proportionally.[1]

Bolivia has a multi-party system, with numerous parties. During the first 23 years of renewed democracy beginning 1982, no one party succeeded in gaining power alone, and parties had to work with each other to form coalition governments. Since 2005, a single party has achieved a parliamentary majority.

Ahead of any national election a period of prohibition takes effect. This is with the intention of preventing inebriated nationals voting in error. Nationals are also forbidden from travelling around during the same period. This is to prevent voters from voting in more than one district. On polling day it is difficult to obtain a taxi or bus, due to the limitations placed upon travel and transport.


  • Schedule 1
    • Election 1.1
    • Inauguration 1.2
  • Electoral system 2
  • History of elections in Bolivia 3
    • Indirect elections, 1825-50 3.1
    • Direct elections with restricted suffrage, 1839 and 1850-1938 3.2
    • Expanding electorate, 1938-1951 3.3
    • Universal suffrage and interruptions in democracy, 1952-79 3.4
    • Democratic transition and final dictatorship, 1979-82 3.5
    • Multiparty democracy, 1982-present 3.6
  • Upcoming elections 4
  • Latest elections 5
    • 2014 general election 5.1
    • 2011 Judicial election 5.2
    • 2011 Special municipal election 5.3
    • 2010 Regional election 5.4
    • 2009 General election 5.5
    • 2009 Constitutional referendum 5.6
    • 2008 Revocation referendum 5.7
  • Past elections 6
    • 2006 Constituent Assembly election 6.1
    • 2005 Presidential election 6.2
    • 2005 Parliamentary election 6.3
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10



Position 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Type Presidential and National Congress (December 6) Regional (April) Judicial (October 16) only special elections Presidential and National Congress (October 12) Regional (April)
President and
vice president
President and vice president None President and vice president None
National Congress All seats None All seats None
Departments, provinces, and municipalities None All positions None All positions


Position 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Type Presidential (November)
National Congress (November)
Gubernatorial (November)
None Presidential (November)
National Congress (November)
Gubernatorial (November)
President and
vice president
6 November None 6 November
National Congress 6 November None 6 November
Provinces, cities and municipalities 6 November None 6 November

Electoral system

The president is directly elected by the people, by majority. A candidate has to receive at least 50% of the vote, or 40% of the vote, and 10% more than the second candidate to be elected, otherwise a second round is held with the top two finishers to determine the winner.

The 130 members in the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados) (excluding the seven special seats) are elected using the additional member system. 63 seats are elected in single-member districts using first-past-the-post voting. 60 additional seats are elected using closed list party-list proportional representation in districts of varying sizes corresponding to Bolivia's nine departments. For parties receiving at least 3% of the national vote, the seats are distributed using the D'Hondt method, subtracting the number of seats the respective party gained from the single-member districts in the respective department. If one party has more seats from the single-member districts alone than the proportion of list vote it received, the extra seats are taken from the last allocated list seats.

The remaining seven seats are reserved indigenous seats elected by the usos y costumbres, using first-past-the-post voting. A voter can only vote in one of either the normal constituencies or special constituencies.

The Chamber of Senators (Cámara de Senadores) has 36 members, four from each the country's nine departments, which are also elected using closed party-lists, using the D'Hondt method.[1]

Both the senate, and the proportional part of the Chamber of Deputies is elected based on the vote for the presidential candidates, while the deputies from the single-member districts are elected using separate votes. Party lists are required to alternate between men and women, while candidates in single-member districts are required to have an alternate, of the opposite sex. At least 50% of the single-member deputies are required to be women [1]

History of elections in Bolivia

Indirect elections, 1825-50

Elections were conducted in the early Republican period using multiple levels of electors, each of which would elect members of the next higher level, culminating in the President.[2]

Direct elections with restricted suffrage, 1839 and 1850-1938

In the elections of 1839, however, the president was elected by a majority of all voters. This system became the norm beginning in 1850. Voting requirements included a minimum property or income or service in one of the professions, and forbid all those "in domestic service" from voting. Indigenous peoples were effectively excluded from the franchise.

Expanding electorate, 1938-1951

Under the Constitution of 1938, all requirements except for being male, literate, and of age, were removed from prospective voters. Elections were held in 1940 and 1951, and saw a dramatic expansion of the electorate.

Universal suffrage and interruptions in democracy, 1952-79

Shortly after coming to power through the 1952 Revolution, the National Revolutionary Movement instituted universal suffrage, ending literacy requirements and racial restrictions which had massively reduced the Bolivian electorate up to that time. General elections were held in 1956, 1960, and 1964; and purely legislative elections were held in 1958 and 1962. Democracy was interrupted in 1964 by René Barrientos Ortuño, who proceeded to hold and win an election in 1966 and to convoke the Constituent Assembly of 1966-67 to rewrite the Constitution of Bolivia.[3] Following Barrientos' death in 1969, democracy was further interrupted by military rule until 1979, including the eight-year dictatorship of Hugo Bánzer Suarez.

Democratic transition and final dictatorship, 1979-82

In a chaotic period of transition marked by numerous coups d'état, three elections were held in 1978, 1979, 1980. Parliamentary majorities were not obtained in 1978 and 1979 and alliance building was interrupted by coups. Lydia Gueiler, an elected member of the National Congress assumed power constitutionally from November 1979 to mid-1980. The results of the 1980 elections were the basis for the post-1982 parliament and the 1982-85 government of Hernán Siles Zuazo.

Multiparty democracy, 1982-present

Elections have been held regularly in the democratic period that began in 1982. General elections were held in 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2005, and 2009.[3] A Plurinational Electoral Organ, whose highest body is the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

Upcoming elections

Latest elections

2014 general election

The last election for national executive and legislative offices, including President and Vice President and the Plurinational Legislative Assembly was held in late 2014, with new terms beginning 2015. In September 2010, President Evo Morales suggested he was eligible to run for re-election in 2014. However, Bolivian presidents are only eligible to be re-elected to one successive term under Article 168 of the Constitution. Morales and his supporters argued that his first term, 2006–10, was incomplete. Juan del Granado, leader of the Without Fear Movement (MSM), challenged its former ally, the Movement towards Socialism to carry out a constitutional referendum if it wanted Morales to stand for re-election.[5] Morales proceeded to win the election with a large margin.

Party Presidential candidate Votes % Seats
Chamber Senate
Seats +/– Seats +/–
Movement for Socialism Evo Morales 3,173,304 61.36 88 0 25 –1
Democrat Unity Samuel Doria Medina 1,253,288 24.23 32 9
Christian Democratic Party Jorge Quiroga 467,311 9.04 10 2
Movement without Fear Juan del Granado 140,285 2.71 0 0
Green Party of Bolivia Fernando Vargas 137,240 2.65 0 0
Invalid/blank votes[1] 316,248
Total 5,487,676 100 130 0 36 0
Registered voters/turnout
Source:Tribunal Supremo Electoral (votes, seats)

2011 Judicial election

The first Bolivian judicial election is scheduled to be held on 5 December 2010. However, officials of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and of the MAS majority in the Plurinational Legislative Assembly have suggested that it will be delayed into 2011.[6] The national vote will elect magistrates to serve on the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Spanish: Tribunal Supremo de Justicia), the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (Spanish: Tribunal Constitucional Plurinacional), the Agro-environmental Tribunal (Spanish: Tribunal Agroambiental), and members of the Council of the Judiciary (Spanish: Consejo de la Magistratura).[7]

2011 Special municipal election

A special election is due be held for the mayor of five cities where mayors have stepped down or been indicted. In July 2011, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal formally convoked the elections for Mayor in three cities: Sucre, Quillacollo, and Pazña for December 18, 2011.[8]

City Outgoing Mayor (Party) Notes
Sucre, Chuquisaca Jaime Barrón (PAÍS) Resigned in July 2010 under indictment for May 24, 2008 violence
Quillacollo, Cochabamba Héctor Cartagena (UNE)
Punata, Cochabamba Víctor Balderrama (Insurgente Martín Uchu) Suspended under indictment for aggravated rape of a minor on August 10, 2010 (convicted September 2011[9]); pledged to resign to allow new elections
Pazña, Oruro Víctor Centeno (MAS-IPSP) Resigned on 15 June 2010 under "psychological pressure and regional divisions"[10]
Catacora, La Paz

2010 Regional election

Departmental and municipal authorities will be elected on 4 April 2010. Among the officials to be elected are:

  • Governors of all nine departments
  • Members of Departamental Legislative Assemblies in each department; 23 seats in these Assemblies will represent indigenous communities, and have been selected by traditional usos y costumbres in the weeks prior to the election
  • Provincial Subgovernors and Municipal Corregidors (executive authorities) in Beni
  • Sectional Development Executives at the provincial level in Tarija
  • Mayors and Council members in all 337 municipalities[11]
  • The five members of the Regional Assembly in the autonomous region of Gran Chaco

The political parties contesting elections in each department are as follows:

2009 General election

Candidate Party Votes Percentage Deputies Senators
  Evo Morales Ayma Movement for Socialism 2.943.209 64,22 88 26
  Manfred Reyes Villa Plan Progress for Bolivia – National Convergence 1.212.795 26,46 37 10
  Samuel Doria Medina National Unity Front 258.971 5,65 3
  René Joaquino Carlos Social Alliance 106.027 2,31 2
  Ana María Flores Social Patriotic Unity Movement 23.257 0,51
  Román Loayza People 15.627 0,34
  Alejo Véliz Peoples for Liberty and Sovereignty 12.995 0,28
  Rime Choquehuanca Social Democratic Bolivia 9.905 0,22
  Valid votes 4.582.786 94,31
  Blank votes 156.290 3,22
  Null votes 120,364 2,48
  Total votes 4.859.440 100 130 36
Source: Comisión Nacional Electoral

2009 Constitutional referendum

In elections held on 25 January 2009, Bolivian voters approved a new Constitution.

Bolivian constitutional referendum, 2009[13][14]
Yes or no Votes Percentage
Yes 2,064,360 61.43%
No 1,296,097 38.57%
Valid votes 3,360,457 95.70%
Invalid or blank votes 151,100 4.30%
Total 3,511,557 100.00%
Voter turnout 90.26%
Cap on maximum landholdings Votes Percentage
5,000 hectares 1,956,567 80.65%
10,000 hectares 469,361 19.35%
Valid votes 2,425,928 69.16%
Invalid or blank votes 1,081,678 30.84%
Total 3,507,606 100.00%
Voter turnout 90.16%

2008 Revocation referendum

 Summary of the 10 August 2008 Bolivian recall referendum results
Position Party Candidate Votes against recall % against recall % threshold Result
Vice President
Movement Toward Socialism Juan Evo Morales Ayma
Álvaro García Linera
2,103,732 67.41% 53.7% Survived
Prefect of Beni Department PODEMOS Ernesto Suárez 64,866 64.25% 44.64% Survived
Prefect of Chuquisaca Department Allianza Comité Interinstitucional Savina Cuéllar Not voting
Prefect of Cochabamba Department Nueva Fuerza Republicana Manfred Reyes Villa 195,290 35.19% 47.64% Recalled
Prefect of La Paz Department José Luis Paredes 362,214 35.48% 37.99% Recalled
Prefect of Oruro Department Alberto Luis Aguilar 84,364 50.86% 40.95% Survived
Prefect of Pando Department PODEMOS Leopoldo Fernández 14,841 56.21% 48.03% Survived
Prefect of Potosí Department Mario Virreira 171,629 79.08% 40.69% Survived
Prefect of Santa Cruz Department Autonomy for Bolivia Ruben Costas 451,191 66.43% 47.87% Survived
Prefect of Tarija Department Civic Committee Mario Cossío 78,170 58.06% 45.65% Survived
Source: National Election Court of Bolivia

Past elections

2006 Constituent Assembly election

2005 Presidential election

 Summary of the 18 December 2005 Bolivian presidential election results
Candidates Nominating parties Votes %
Juan Evo Morales Ayma
Álvaro García Linera
Movement Toward Socialism 1,544,374 53.7

María Renée de los Ángeles Duchén Cuéllar
Democratic and Social Power 821,745 28.6
Samuel Jorge Doria Medina Auza
Carlos Fernando Dabdoub Arrien
National Unity Front 224,090 7.8
Michiaki Nagatani Morishita
Guillermo Luis Bedregal Gutiérrez
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement 185,859 6.5
Felipe Quispe Huanca
Camila Choqueticlla
Indigenous Pachakuti Movement 61,948 2.2
Gildo Angulo Cabrera
Gonzalo José Silvestre Quiroga Soria
New Republican Force 19,667 0.7
Eliceo Rodríguez Pari
Rodolfo Antonio Flores Morelli
Agrarian Patriotic Front of Bolivia 8,737 0.3
Néstor García Rojas
Teodomiro Rengel Huanca
Social Union of the Workers of Bolivia 7,381 0.3
Total (turnout: 84.5 %) 2,873,801 100.0
Null votes 104,570 3.4
Blank votes 124,027 3.0
Total votes 3,102,417 100.0
Registered voters 3,671,152
Source: CNE

2005 Parliamentary election

 Summary of the 18 December 2005 National Congress of Bolivia election results
Parties Votes % Deputies Senators
Movement Toward Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo) 1,544,374 53.7 72 12
Social and Democratic Power (Poder Democrático y Social, PODEMOS) 821,745 28.6 43 13
National Unity Front (Frente de Unidad Nacional) 224,090 7.8 8 1
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario) 185,859 6.5 7 1
Indigenous Pachakuti Movement (Movimiento Indígena Pachakuti) 61,948 2.2 - -
New Republican Force (Nueva Fuerza Republicana) 19,667 0.7 - -
Agrarian Patriotic Front of Bolivia (Frente Patriótico Agropecuario de Bolivia) 8,737 0.3 - -
Social Union of the Workers of Bolivia (Unión Social de los Trabajadores de Bolivia) 7,381 0.3 - -
Total (turnout: 84.534 %) 2,873,801 100.0 130 27
Null votes 104,570 3.4
Blank votes 124,027 3.0
Total votes 3,102,417 100.0
Registered voters 3,671,152
Source: CNE and Rulers

See also


  1. ^ 108,187 blank votes, 208,061 invalid votes.


  1. ^ a b c "Bolivia: Ley del Régimen Electoral, 30 de junio de 2010". Lexivox. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Barragán R., Rossana (2005). "Ciudadanía y elecciones, convenciones y debates". Regiones y poder constituyente en Bolivia: Una historia de pactos y disputas. Cuaderno de futuro. PNUD. pp. 287–294. 
  3. ^ a b Cordero Carraffa, Carlos Hugo (February 2007). Historia Electoral de Bolivia: 1952-2007 (PDF). Cuadernos de trabajo. Corte Nacional Electoral. p. 27. 
  4. ^ Córdova, Eduardo (2009). "Cochabamba es el centro es la ausencia: Impulsos estatales y sociales de la descentralización en Cochabamba (1994–2008)". Decursos: Revista de Ciencias Sociales XI (20): 61–95 [68]. 
  5. ^ "Del Granado reta a Evo a ir a referéndum". Los Tiempos (Cochabamba). 2010-09-23. pp. A1, A2. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  6. ^ "Ley aplaza elección de autoridades judiciales," La Razón, 12 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Elecciones judiciales serán el 5 diciembre," Los Tiempos, 5 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Convocan a comicios electorales en 3 municipios". Página Siete. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-22. 
  9. ^ "Condenan con 25 años de prisión al Alcalde suspendido de Punata". La Razón. 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  10. ^ "En Quillacollo y Pazña habrán nuevas elecciones para alcalde,", 16 June 2011.
  11. ^ Corte Nacional Electoral, Elecciones departamentales y municipales 2010.
  12. ^ Corte Nacional Electoral, ¿Qué eligiremos el 4 de abril?.
  13. ^ "Referéndum Nacional Constituyente 2009".  
  14. ^ "Referéndum Nacional Constituyente 2009".  

External links

  • Adam Carr's Election Archive
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.