statistical study challenges Evo Morales fraud

The New York Times published the results of an investigation into fraud allegations during the October presidential election in Bolivia on Sunday. Three independent researchers claim that the OAS report, which found that Evo Morales was cheating and taking opponents against the Bolivian president out on the street, presents methodological flaws.

It was the most disputed election in Bolivia’s history since the return to democracy. In November last year, President Evo Morales, who was just re-elected for a controversial fourth term, was finally forced into exile before allegations of electoral fraud, supported by a report from the Organization of American States (OAS).

But a study whose results were published on Sunday, June 7th The New York Times, indicates that this report may be incorrect. This new expertise is based on the information provided by the Bolivian electoral authorities provided to the US daily newspaper.

“We looked closely at OAS’s statistical evidence and found problems with their methodology,” said Francisco Rodríguez, one of the researchers who conducted the study. “Once these problems have been corrected, the results of” OAS fade and there is no longer any statistical evidence of fraud. “

For this study, Francisco Rodriguez, an economist specializing in Latin America at Tulane University in Louisiana, collaborated with Dorothy Kronick of the University of Pennsylvania and Nicolás Idrobo, a doctoral student who specializes in statistical studies. Their study has not yet gone through the peer review stage and has not been published.

An OAS press release that served as dynamite

The October 2019 elections took place in a particularly polarized Bolivia.

“Bolivia is then very fragmented, especially because of the constitutional referendum in February 2016. Evo Morales wanted to change the constitution to be able to represent himself indefinitely. Bolivians said, ‘no, we will not change the constitution for you.’ the fact that Evo Morales is undergoing has polarized the situation, “explains Christine Delfour, professor of contemporary Latin American civilization at Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée University and specialist in Bolivia, interviewed by France24. “It is this passage that applies, more than the Mas program [le mouvement d’Evo Morales, NDLR], which was polarized. I am still convinced that if Evo Morales had presented a successor, Masarna would have won easily. That the result was narrow was evident from the previous three years. “

>> Also read our long format: the Evo years

Before the election, analysts believe that Evo Morales can be forced into a second round for the first time. A trend that is confirmed during Election Day: Evo Morales before the closing of polling stations has only a small lead over his main opponent, former President Carlos Mesa.

Then, for 24 hours, the bill ends inexplicably. When he resumes, Evo Morales has a sufficient lead to avoid throwing. The opposition is screaming for fraud. Protests erupt across the country in a rebellious climate.

“The OAS was ambiguous. The organization followed the growing legalization movement in Latin America. And in the wake of the executive who woke up and Evo Morales’s inability to organize his legacy, he swallowed himself in the gap to” shoot down “the continent’s last domestic-popular experience,” says Christine Delfour . “OAS’s support has strengthened the opposition.”

The two main opponents, Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho, have also used the organization as an argument in authority in their attacks on the president. The OAS has really published a press release in which it believes that the presidential election is akin to “fraud” and calls for a new vote to be called.

The army was quickly dropped and many high ranking officials, including former allies, resigned and exiled in Mexico, then in Argentina, while continuing to assert his innocence.

A distorted OAS report

The study by the three US researchers claims to show that OAS used poor statistical models to draw its conclusions, but the authors remain cautious. Although the statistical method of the OAS is problematic, their own study does not rule out the possibility that fraud may have taken place, it merely states that there is no statistical evidence for it.

Professor Irfan Nooruddin, OAS consultant who performed his statistical analysis, told the New York Times that the new study skewed his work and was flawed. He refused to submit his information to the study authors, despite repeated requests, and to share his working methods.

The OAS defends its conclusions: “You do a statistical exercise on counterfeit documents,” she said. “The question is not whether the false numbers are added up. The question is whether they are false or not – and they are.”

Since Evo Morale’s departure, Jeanine Añez has been named President. This curator from Catholic circles was tasked with organizing a new presidential election within six months to restore conditional order. Originally scheduled for May 3, it will take place on September 6 due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

Innocent of electoral fraud, Mas could once again withdraw from the game: “Añez’s leadership is highly criticized, many corruption scandals have erupted, and its leadership of Covid-19 is considered disastrous. Conversely, Elbas’s electoral base is still there. because of the referendum could come back from Mas, “says Christine Delfour. Mas’s presidential candidate, Luis Arce, former finance minister Evo Morales, is also leading the vote.