Anti-U.S. candidate leads in Bolivia

Socialist presidential candidate Evo Morales, who has promised to become Washington's "nightmare" if elected, took an unexpectedly strong lead over his conservative rival in voting yesterday, according to two independent exit polls.The polls show Morales

Anti-U.S. candidate leads in Bolivia

If confirmed by official tallies, that count would mean both lacked the 50 percent needed to win outright. Bolivia's Congress would then decide next month between Morales - a lawmaker and coca farmer whose campaign to become Bolivia's first indigenous president was marked by anti-U.S. slogans - and Quiroga, who is seen as a free-market technocrat. He wants to boost U.S. ties and attract more private investment.

Morales, 46, has promised to reverse years of sometimes violent American-backed efforts to eradicate coca fields. Bolivia is the world's third-largest grower of coca, a plant that has traditional, legal uses among the country's Indians but also is used to make cocaine.

"If [the U.S.] wants relations, welcome," Morales said after voting, holding a news conference where piles of coca leaves were spread atop a Bolivian flag. "But no to a relationship of submission."

Voting later in the capital, La Paz, Quiroga said he hoped that a vote in Congress would not lead to the sort of crippling street protests Morales had led in the past.

"What one has to avoid is that one of the sides tries to air its differences through aggression, through sticks and stones," said Quiroga, 45. "That is not the way we do things."

Officials reported that voting went peacefully as the polls closed. Morales had 45 percent of the vote and Quiroga had 33 percent in an Equipso Mori poll. A second poll by the private Ipsos Captura organization showed Morales with a slightly narrower lead of 44.5 percent to 34 percent for Quiroga. Minor candidates were getting the rest.

Source: Newsday

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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