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Is voting illegal in Bolivia?

By Alek Boyd

Santa Cruz 04.05.08 | The first question the BBC reporter asked me was why we were participating in an electoral event deemed illegal. As much as I wanted to ask him what sort of evidence existed to support such argument, beyond what the government of Evo Morales had been saying, I stated that it was premature for us, as electoral observers invited by the electoral regional body, to express any opinion in that respect. Our role in this process is one of observation. Therefore in the interest of impartiality it is expected of us to hear all sides and their arguments. Nonetheless the questioned legality of this process is worth discussing, and we shall be doing so in many years to come.

One does not have to be well versed in legal issues in order to understand the legitimacy of this event. However beyond legalese, since when did voting become illegal? How can a government that praises itself for devolving dignity to indigenous communities and advancing participatory democracy, go to such extents as to do everything within its powers to crush an electoral exercise? There is no better expression of democracy than that of being able to vote freely. Ergo, why is Morales’ administration trying to impede the vote? The reasons seem to be entirely political.

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