Manfred Reyes Villa Shocks Bolivia With His Choice of Running Mate

Bolivian presidential candidate Manfred Reyes Villa shocked Bolivia yesterday with his choice for running mate. None other than imprisoned Pando Prefect Leopoldo Fernandez will run as vice-president and campaign from inside San Pedro Prison in La Paz.

This unprecedented pairing was completely unexpected. A fragmented opposition, which has all but lost its opportunity to form a united front against Evo Morales/GarcĂ­a Linera, had caused much frustration and loss of hope for voters who, according to early surveys, seem will greatly favor this new duo.

Leopoldo Fernandez is widely considered a political prisoner and is immensely popular throughout much of Bolivia. In addition, he has over 30 years of experience in politics, having been a representative for 3 terms and senator for 4 terms in addition to his term as Pando Prefect. A great number of Bolivians do not approve of his jailing and do not believe he is guilty of the charges against him.

Whether or not this will garner enough votes to topple Evo Morales is another story. A recent Gallup poll indicates 57,7% of Bolivia's population plans to vote for Morales on December 6th, while none of the opposition candidates got over 10%.

However, some analysts believe this pairing may cause some opposition candidates to eventually align with Reyes Villa and Fernandez just prior to elections, while others indicate undecided voters may now throw their support behind the opposition.

Although Fernandez has been imprisoned for nearly one year, no evidence has been presented to prove his participation in the events that occurred in Pando on September 11th, 2008 and he has not yet had a fair trial. Therefore by law, and according to the new Bolivian constitution, his imprisonment is "for preventive measures only" and he is indeed able to legally run for office. What isn't known is how he will campaign from within San Pedro Prison.

Although this duo is likely to far surpass other opposition candidates in popularity, it seems unlikely they will garner sufficient votes to win December's elections.

Comments for Manfred Reyes Villa Shocks Bolivia With His Choice of Running Mate

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Jan 22, 2010
not everyone has to do what the US does
by: Anonymous

Well let's see, maybe because everyone DOESN'T always have to do what the US does.

Jan 22, 2010
Are you kidding me?
by: Anonymous

The US has inprisoned people with an excuse of national security without haveing proof and or giving them trial. So if its cool in the US why not in Bolivia.

Dec 31, 2009
by: bath mate

very nice blog......
i like your posting, this is the better blog.

Sep 01, 2009
Leopoldo is falsely accused
by: Sunil P.

That's right, accused of those things. Accused and guilty are two completely different things. (A democratic person would know that).

Villa's choice might be unusual but it's getting a surprisingly warm reception all over Bolivia.

Leopoldo has been held for nearly one year now and the government hasn't been able to come up with one single piece of evidence to show he was involved.

The head of human rights of the United Nations said just a couple of days ago that it is very worrisome to see that in this country people are being held without trial and without any evidence of their guilt for so long.

Those of you who like to talk about democracy all the time seem to conveniently forget that in a democracy a person is INNOCENT until proven guilty.

Sep 01, 2009
by: Anonymous

well,,,that is one way to cut down on campaign expenses relating to food and travel,,,
Nice going Manfred--align yourself with a person who is accused of helping/trying to kill many members of the majority--the indigenous of Bolivia.
You will consolidate the vote of the few who share your views, while alienating all of the rest.
My new estimate??? Evo gets 60% or more of the vote, as more and more people admire and appreciate the intelligent ways in which he has governed a never-so-economically-stable, prosperous, free and democratic Bolivia.
Viva Bolivia and viva Pres. Evo Morales!

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