LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales has admitted that corruption allegations weakened his party’s credibility in regional elections held Sunday in which his party, Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), lost control of several key constituencies.
In a press conference in La Paz on Monday, the president rued the setbacks, particularly in La Paz and El Alto.
Morales said that losing the mayoral election in El Alto was a particular concern as the region is a stronghold of support for his government.
Corruption accusations were leveled there against the governing party’s candidate for re-election, Edgar Patana.
Morales said the accusations must be investigated.
In the absence of official data from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, exit polls surveys and projections were released by the media Sunday.
According to these, Soledad Chapeton of indigenous Aymara origin won in El Alto with 55.2 percent of votes, overwhelming the 31.8 percent Patana’s campaign attracted.
Felix Patzi, a MAS dissident, will take over the department of La Paz from MAS’s Cesar Cocaricoan after winning 52 percent of the vote and resoundingly defeating the pro-Government candidate, Felipa Huanca, who won 29.2 percent of votes.
The Mayor of La Paz will again be Luis Revilla, re-elected with nearly 60 percent of the vote.
Bolivians voted on Sunday to elect nine Governors, 339 mayors, regional assembly members, municipal councilors, and other authorities.
President Evo Morales’ governing party won four of nine departments, while the opposition won three and will force two other departments (Chuquisaca and Beni) to a second round of voting, according to unofficial data.
Morales’ party won outright in the departments of Cochabamba, Oruro, Potosi and Pando, while the opposition won Santa Cruz and La Paz.