Bolivia’s television networks are reporting an overwhelming MAS victory in today’s elections, based on exit polls at “the mouth of the voting urns.” While the victory was not in much doubt, reports indicate that the MAS won a higher than expected 62-63% to Manfred Reyes Villa/PPB’s 23-24% (figures vary among the Red ATB, Unitel, and Los Tiempos). The MAS victory is reported to extend to 6 departments including Tarija (traditionally a part of the right-leaning Media Luna) and Chuquisaca (where MAS lost departmental elections, but won two national referenda in the last eighteen months). The television network Unitel is projecting that MAS will win 25 of the 36 seats in the Bolivian Senate, giving it an absolute and unblockable majority.
I may play at live blogging this over the next day…
14:40 PST Manfred Reyes Villa (PPB-CN), the leading opposition candidate has just made his first reaction. Reyes Villa is the former governor of Cochabamba, a post he was recalled from by referendum in August 2008. Speaking in Santa Cruz, he tried to reconfigure the national map to that of the height of the right-wing opposition, by noting that if Chuquisaca and Tarija, which joined the solidly pro-MAS departments in voting for Morales and the MAS today, were added to the remaining parts of the Media Luna, the overall five-province vote is projected to show a PPB-CN majority. This is an extreme and hard to justify geographic stretch.
14:50 PST ERBOL, a community radio network is passing on the ATB exit poll results, broken down by province. These shows a close vote in Santa Cruz and Pando in which the PPB-CN leads the MAS, but the margin is within the likely (but unstated) margin of error of the polls.