Bolivia’s President Evo Morales is expected to easily win re-election today.
Opinion polls predict the leftist leader will take more than 50 percent of the vote and his Movement Toward Socialism party could gain control of Congress. Morales has cast himself as the only candidate capable of bringing prosperity to the poor and many Bolivians in rural areas identify strongly with his humble origins. He has also been helped by divisions within the conservative opposition, giving his main rival, former governor and army captain Manfred Reyes Villa, little hope of forcing a run-off. Although he has the backing of the country’s business elite, Morales’ economic policies have boosted his popularity in one of South America’s poorest country’s. The nationalization of several sectors has generated a windfall for state coffers that Morales has used to increase social spending and expand state control over the economy.