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Elections Around The World

October 30, 2020

If you live in the United States, you know that Election Day is coming up. Democratic nominee and former vice president Joe Biden is hoping to defeat current president Donald Trump. While we’re waiting with bated breath to see who voters will choose on November 3rd, important elections have already taken place in other parts of the world. Recently, voters in New Zealand and Bolivia headed to the polls to vote for their next leader. While these countries are very different and thousands and thousands of miles apart, the winners had one thing in common: they both won with overwhelming support. Let’s take a look at why and what happened.

New Zealand:

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern Ministry of Justice of New Zealand, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Winner: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister Ardern was reelected to lead New Zealand in a landslide victory. Despite being the youngest prime minister of New Zealand in over 150 years when she took office three years ago, Ardern has proven to the people of New Zealand that she can handle a crisis. New Zealand has some of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates and one of the fewest death tolls from the virus. At one point during the summer, New Zealand even declared being COVID-19-free after seeing no new infections for over three weeks.

Bolivia:

President of Bolivia Luis Arce
UNCTAD, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Winner: Luis Arce
Unlike the United States, Bolivia’s government has the power to postpone elections. And that’s exactly what the interim Bolivian government did—twice! While the government cited COVID-19 as the reason for the postponements, protesters believed that the government was using the virus as an excuse for delaying the election. After all, the ex-president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, went into exile (or fled to another country) after being accused of tampering with the presidential election in 2019. The results of that election were ultimately annulled. An interim government took over and banned Morales from running in future elections. It took a while, but the people of Bolivia finally had their chance to vote for their next president. In the end, the people voted for Luis Arce, the economy minister who served under President Morales. Arce’s party, the Movement Toward Socialism party, also won in both houses of congress.