Is there more democratic erosion under President Morales’s leadership or under the current interim president, Jeanine Anez? The former indigenous president, Evo Morales, was recently (in late 2019) exiled into Mexico after losing support from the country’s military. A short while later opposition senator Jeanine Anez declared herself interim president. Morales lost support because of his refusal to step down from leadership, a path that has eroded basic democratic principles, however the country, now, under Anez is still violating those principles just in different way and forms.
The article “Bolivia After Morales” states that Morales started to turn more autocratic early on in his tenure. The article further stated that although Morales had both social and economic success underneath his term as president that it did not come without weakening democratic processes and institutions. The article further stated that MAS (The Movement for Socialism) Morales’s political party, manipulated the countries court by appointing loyalists, intimidated political opponents, and did not respect the institutional checks and balances (Anria, Roberts,2019). Democratic erosion became more prevalent when Morales’s party won a majority in both houses of parliament. This gave Morales and the MAS to intensify their power and use it for his (Morales’s) own benefit. Slowly by slowly, the MAS made Morales look more like a “democratically elected” dictator rather than a president. In 2014 the MAS stated that they would not be looking for a new party leader for a while and in 2016 the MAS controlled government held a referendum to take away presidential term limits. The referendum failed and Morales took the issue to the country’s supreme court (which was benched by Morale’s allies). The court determined that Morales’s reasoning, that it was “human right” to run for president again, was sufficient and ruled in his favor. The article “Bolivia After Morales” argues that this was what caused his presidency to start losing support. The article further argued that the referendum undermined Morale’s democratic legitimacy.
Morales’s replacement, Jeanine Anez, has kept up the trend of de-legitimizing democratic procedures. Her and her newly formed government are after their political opponents in violent ways. Anez, who has been tasked with organizing a new election in the country has cracked down on MAS (still a predominant political party in Bolivia) and it’s supporters. Anez has been trying to discredit Morales and his party as political actors in Bolivian government. Anez’s government has also went as far as cracking down on indigenous pro-Morales supporters who have been protesting. The interim government has been using live ammunition at these protests and subsequently have given the military a “pass” on any criminal responsibility. These types of actions by Anez and her government has been damaging the core principles of democracy, opposition and the right to protest. Some people question if Anez should be allowed to be president, her legitimacy and her rise to power. Some also fear that Anez may be using this situation as a power vacuum and use this opportunity to sweep power. One example is that when Anez declared herself interim president, when Morales fled to Mexico, she vowed not to run for president when it was time for elections. However, Anez is the primary contender for the snap election that is occurring in May of 2020.
Morales’s ambitions of wanting to be Bolivia’s president longer than what he should have has cultivated the mess Bolivia is now. But that does not justify the means and lengths Anez and her current government are going to shut the MAS and its supporters out of the country’s politics. However, the process of democratic erosion in Bolivian politics started with Morales and his government and he has created the situation that his country is in now. Morales’s political ambitions, whether it was packing the courts or intimidating political opponents piece by piece, Morales was the victim to his own past doings. So, because of the length and how long democratic erosion went under Morales’s leadership virtually unchecked until 2016 and how democratic institutions his actions touched, Bolivia’s democracy was more harmed under Morales leadership.