Bolivia. The June 30 presidential election was very even. The votes were distributed among three candidates. Gonzálo Sánchez de Lozada of the Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR), who was president in 1993-97, won with 22.5% of the vote over Evo Morales (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS), but the margin was very small, only 1.6%. In addition, Manfred Reyes Villa for Nueva Fuerza Republicana (NFR) received only 721 fewer votes than Morales.
The Congress, which, according to Bolivia’s constitution, elects the president when no candidate has achieved his own majority, appointed five days later Sánchez, commonly called Goni, as the country’s new president. The government base became very weak and uncertain; Sánchez and MNR were forced to form a coalition with their political arch-opponent Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR) with support from several other parties.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Bolivia is every August 6. Sánchez has declared continued reforms in the same market economy spirit as during his previous term, but is also forced to take into account Morale’s strong election results. Morales is also a spokesman for the country’s coca farmers and demands that the coca farmers who switched their production to other crops receive state compensation and that free markets for coca leaves are allowed. In addition, the cocoa growers want to expand the area for legal cocoa cultivation while the government, with the support of the USA, wants to reduce it. The conflict between the government and the coca farmers has escalated, especially after the authorities in January tried to close the legal coca markets.
Peasant protests in Sacaba in Cochabamba Province then led to three days of unrest and confrontation between protesters and police, with seven dead as a result. In September, the negotiations between the government and the cocoa growers broke down.
The former military dictator and later elected president Hugo Bánzer died on May 5 after a long illness, which included forced him to leave the presidency prematurely in August 2001.