The acting president of Bolivia, Jeanine Anez, has declared that she will not run in next month’s presidential race, with the socialists now pulling ahead.
The announcement came just a day after polling showed she had slid into fourth place in the presidential race.
Ms. Añez said she was dropping out to help unite the conservative vote and try to block the current front-runner, the leftist former economy minister Luis Arce, from winning.
“I’m doing this because of a risk that the vote gets divided between various candidates,” Ms. Añez said in a national address published on social media.
“It’s not a sacrifice, it’s an honor.”
Anez took over the Presidency last year after the Bolivia elections – meant for 2019 – were postponed due to civil unrest.
They were rescheduled for May 2020 but were again pushed back due to the coronavirus.
Anez’s candidacy had sparked controversy after she initially ruled herself out and pledged to guide the country to transparent new elections.
“Today I put aside my candidacy for the presidency of Bolivia, for the sake of democracy,” Anez said, citing “the risk that the vote is divided among several candidates and that as a result of that division, the MAS would end up wining.”
“If we don’t unite, Morales will return. If we don’t unite, democracy loses,” she said, calling for unity among voters opposed to MAS. She declined to say which candidate she planned to vote for.
By pulling out of the race, Anez could increase chances that the election will be pushed to a second round by consolidating the anti-Arce vote.
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