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Morales claims election victory: Bolivian voters react

Evo Morales celebrates victory
Mr Morales said it was now his duty to "accelerate the pace of change"

President Evo Morales is claiming victory in Bolivia's presidential election and looks to have secured a second five-year term.

Exit polls suggest Mr Morales polled at least 61% in Sunday's election, defeating his conservative opponents.

Here voters in Bolivia react to the result and look ahead to a second term under the country's first indigenous leader.


ROBERTO CHAMBI, LA PAZ
Roberto Chambi

This result has given legitimacy to the current government, which has successfully held the reins of the country over the past five years.

President Morales has consolidated power for the social classes who previously suffered humiliation under the oligarchs in this country.

I am convinced that the Bolivian people deserve great reforms in social justice.

With at least 61% of the vote there should now be no more divisions and opposition to these reforms being implemented.

The opposition should respect the result of the election, which was won in a clean and fair way.

It's time for the opposition to understand that this is not the decision of some but of a majority, and this victory is not the victory of a party but of the Bolivian people.


ADRIANA MORDENTE, COCHABAMBA

Adriana Mordente

I voted for Morales simply because I had no other option.

In the old days, a tripod of political parties with indistinguishable differences would rotate the presidency amongst themselves.

These same people tried to introduce capitalism in the country. Morales provided an alternative to that.

He has now been given the opportunity to carry out the revolutionary change avowed in the new constitution.

The opposition is very fragmented and their lack of alliances favoured Morales enormously in this election, as proven by the results.

However, we will have to wait for local and mayoral elections next year to confirm whether Morales is looking at a straightforward five-year term or another one featuring constant opposition-government clashes.

Morales now has a great challenge - to respond to the necessities and expectations of the people who have supported him so far.

All I wish for is that we don't fall into a totalitarian regime, and that the government embraces all Bolivians equally.

SAMUEL BUSTILLOS, COCHABAMBA

This is not good news for Bolivians.

Evo Morales has only one agenda and that is politics.

He has nothing new to offer in terms of investment in health, infrastructure or the economy.

We are facing a virtual Morales dictatorship, sponsored by Hugo Chavez.

What else can we expect from someone who admires Ahmadinejad's politics, believes Cuba and North Korea are good examples to follow and has no respect for freedom of speech.

CLAUDIA ROBLES, LA PAZ

Claudia Robles

The atmosphere before the election was tense and even though everyone knew Mr Morales would win, many hoped that it would not be by a two-thirds majority.

It is unfortunate that this has happened.

Mr Morales is not up to the job and it is a lie that he is building schools or helping the poor.

He has bought many people's votes in this election, in fact.

There is a great shortage of jobs and crime has risen massively.

This victory only means more chaos and an absence of proper rule of law.

For the sake of all Bolivians I hope someone will eventually stand up to Morales.

GWEN QUINTEROS, COCHABAMABA

Gwen Quinteros

My husband and I voted for Evo Morales.

As missionaries in a particularly poor suburb of Cochabamba, I have stood in line next to people who were never given a voice or a hope in their own country before Evo Morales came along.

Bolivia will now strive to continue to have its wealth distributed fairly where, regardless of class, Evo strives to bring equality.

Of course, those against Evo will always claim he is taking their wealth from them - this may be true to some extent, but only to distribute it as it always should have been.

There will always be divisions here, as violence in recent years has shown, but Evo has made small gains in each of the opposition-held areas of Bolivia, so surely they have less ground on which to base their anti-Evo claims now.

Indeed, Evo is not perfect, and there are still issues to be faced, such as the nationalisation of Bolivia's own assets and its distribution.

But for now, democracy rules, and who am I to disagree?

SAMMY JACOB, LA PAZ

Morales' win means more taxes, more approval of cocaine production, and more appropriation of private mines.

It also means more dependence on Venezuela and more state control.

Overall it will result in more stealing from the private sector and giving to the indigenous.

Morales is looting the wealth of the private sector to give to those who do not work.

He is selling state enterprises to Venezuela at low prices.

The involvement of Hugo Chavez in our country's affairs is unbearable and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

JORGE LUIZ ALURRALDE PEREDO, LA PAZ

Jorge Luis Alurralde Peredo

This result consolidates the will of the Bolivian majority to give Evo Morales' government a chance to continue its work.

It also proves that there are no other leaders in this country who can compete with him.

In addition, it shows that the east of the country - Santa Cruz, Beni and Pando - haven't been entirely convinced by Evo Morales' government.

The government now has to continue with its reforms and guarantee the implementation of the new constitution.

Evo Morales' priorities should be to resolve the appointments of judiciary posts, generate new jobs, guarantee security for the citizens of Bolivia, control drug trafficking and deal with the effects of climate change.



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