The Far-Left Wins Back Power in Bolivia. What Does That Mean for the Country’s Future?

Luis Arce claimed an early victory in the Bolivian presidential election on October 18. His rise to the presidency also means a return to MAS party leadership, raising questions of what another left-wing political era could mean for the country.


  • Christopher Sabatini

    Dr. Christopher Sabatini, is a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House, and was formerly a lecturer in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. Chris is also on the advisory boards of Harvard University’s LASPAU, the Advisory Committee for Human Rights Watch's Americas Division, and of the Inter-American Foundation. He is also an HFX Fellow at the Halifax International Security Forum. He is a frequent contributor to policy journals and newspapers and appears in the media and on panels on issues related to Latin America and foreign policy. Chris has testified multiple times before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2015, Chris founded and directed a new research non-profit, Global Americas and edited its news and opinion website. From 2005 to 2014 Chris was senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and the founder and editor-in-chief of the hemispheric policy magazine Americas Quarterly (AQ). At the AS/COA, Dr. Sabatini chaired the organization’s rule of law and Cuba working groups. Prior to that, he was director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy, and a diplomacy fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, working at the US Agency for International Development’s Center for Democracy and Governance. He provides regular interviews for major media outlets, and has a PhD in Government from the University of Virginia.

Known widely as “Lucho,” Arce served as Morales’ economy minister and led the nationalisation of the mining industry – which helped to power the administration’s economic success as commodity prices rose in the 2000s. With a Masters degree in economics from the U.K.’s Warwick University, Arce is “one of the few technocrats in MAS,” Sabatini says. “He’s level headed and – from what I’ve seen – he doesn’t engage in inflammatory rhetoric.”

In his first speech after the poll results, Arce said he would build a government of national unity. “We’re going to work and resume the process of change without hate, and learning and overcoming our errors as MAS.”

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