BOGOTA, Colombia

Bolivians will go to the polls Oct. 18 to vote for a new president. 

Although not a full year has passed since the last elections were invalidated and with an investigation still ongoing, it appears the vote this year will not be without controversy.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal and the Organization of American States (OAS) regional bloc signed an agreement for an OAS Mission to observe the election, as it did last year.

But former President Evo Morales has questioned the OAS’ ability to oversee the elections after it failed in the 2019 polls.

“They seek to repeat the 2019 history when the OAS accused me of committing fraud at the polls,” Morales said on Twitter.

Last October, one day after the vote, the OAS issued a report based on partial results that claimed Morales committed fraud to win.

Official results afforded Morales a 10-point lead needed against his closest contender, Carlos Mesa, to avoid a run-off.

The preliminary report urged a second round, although it provided no evidence to support fraud allegations.

In doing so, it motivated the right-wing opposition to force Morales to resign in November.

Former Colombian President Ernesto Samper challenged the OAS presence in the elections.

“The OAS, which invented an alleged fraud in the past elections in Bolivia to ignore the triumph of Evo Morales, now returns with the same delegation president to tarnish the elections if Lucho Arce and David Choquehuanca, candidates of MAS party win,” he said Oct. 13.

Morales denounced the interference of the US State Department in the elections, saying it gave “instructions” to right-wing political parties to “withdraw” from the race to create a common front to avoid a possible Arce victory.

Arce leads former President Carlos Mesa by nine percentage points, according to a recent poll, which anticipates a second round of voting.

To avoid a second round, rules require at least 40% of votes in the first round and a 10-point advantage against the closest competitor.

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