President Evo Morales swept to a third term with 61% of the votes, electoral officials said in confirming the result. The October 12 balloting was a massive vote of support and a strong mandate to expand his leftist reforms. In power since 2006 and Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Morales earned 37 points more than his closest rival, wealthy cement magnate Samuel Doria Medina.
Morales will extend his time in office to 14 years, until January 2020, after Bolivia’s Supreme Court ruled last year that his first term was exempt from a new constitution adopted in 2009 that imposed a limit of one re-election for sitting presidents. After rising to prominence as a union leader fighting for the rights of the country’s coca growers, Morales has brought sweeping changes since taking office in 2006.
His government has nationalized a broad range of industries, including oil, gas, mining, telecommunications and water; rolled out welfare grants for the elderly, children and expectant mothers; and moved to empower previously marginalized groups, among them the indigenous people who account for 65 percent of the population. Defying opponents’ dire warnings of economic catastrophe, Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, has instead seen a boom. The economy grew 6.8 percent last year and is forecast to grow more than five percent this year, one of the fastest rates in the region.
Extracted and modified from Yahoo News.