Morales has resigned: what comes next?

Evo Morales, the long-standing socialist president of Bolivia, resigned on Sunday. The move came at the prompting of the head of the Bolivian armed forces in the wake of ongoing protests against Morales's controversial re-election three weeks ago. Commentators ask what lessons can be learned from his departure.

Open/close all quotes
Habertürk (TR) /

The next government won't have things easy

The country won't be able to afford the generous social policy it had under Morales, Habertürk fears:

“What went wrong economically was the collapse of raw material prices. That made it more difficult for Morales to finance the persistent public deficit of roughly seven percent. ... It's difficult to predict what will happen now, but it won't be possible to continue such a high level of social spending simply by selling natural gas, zinc and tin. If you add to that the leftists' mixed track record and the problems in the neighbouring countries, it looks like the next government has its work cut out for it.”

Bernardinai (LT) /

Bolivia has freed itself of Stalin's ideas

Website Bernardinai.lt celebrates Morales's resignation as a victory for democracy:

“What is the greater good: to have a full stomach or to be free? Can a hungry man dream of freedom? Can he worry about imperfect democracies? Yet not only the hungry can be slaves. A glutted, delusional person is no less a slave - a slave to money and arrogance. Can a slave rule a country? What does the future of such a country look like? This is the fight that is really taking place in Bolivia. A struggle of moral values. This is why it does not just affect Bolivia. Stalin's idea is extinct. It looks as if the citizens of Bolivia have also freed themselves from their own 'Stalin', Morales. ... Today the country is celebrating a victory for democracy.”

Vedomosti (RU) /

An instructive negative example for the Kremlin

The only conclusion the Russian government can draw from what has happened to Morales is that it should never allow free elections on the state leadership, writes Vedomosti:

“The rapid fall of Morales - compared with the survival of the dictatorships of Assad and Maduro notwithstanding their far fiercer and longer confrontation with a large section of their populations - puts all the trump cards in the hands of the proponents of a harsh police state and a harsh reaction. These people are convinced that only those who are willing to cause bloodshed and surround themselves with a loyal security apparatus that is willing to shoot at demonstrators if necessary can remain in power. This also applies in situations such as economic collapse, blockades and civil war - not to mention rigged or lost elections.”

Artı Gerçek (TR) /

This was a fascist coup

Morales was illegitimately ousted from power, writes news website Artı Gerçek:

“The bottom line is that the police chiefs, generals and capitalist billionaires like Camacho have seized power through a coup as they could never have done in elections. This putsch, which began with the claim that Morales didn't deserve to win in the first round of voting, ended with the fascist Mesa-Camacho bloc taking power - despite the fact that there had been no discussion in Bolivia about whether Morales had actually won the election. The only thing that was discussed was by how many percentage points he had won. ... The decisive factors behind the coup were the new status the indigenous peoples have achieved, the nationalisation of natural gas and the closure of US military bases.”

Izvestia (RU) /

Now big business can take over

Morales had declared Bolivia's natural resources to be the property of the nation. His ousting from government will give the multinationals access to the country's huge lithium deposits, Izsvestia predicts:

“The Morales government was always careful regarding foreign companies, and until now had accepted only technical recommendations. Now the doors have been opened for Western companies. There is a strong probability that the leftist Morales government will be replaced by its main rival, the pro-Western Carlos Mesa. No doubt he will change the legislation so that foreigners can once again control the mining of raw materials in Bolivia and pocket the lion's share of the profits. All the more so as nowadays the lithium business promises massive returns.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

One constitutional breach after another

On several points Evo Morales has ignored the constitution, which among other things allows only two consecutive terms of office for the president, Corriere del Ticino points out:

“Already back in 2014, the former leader of the Coca farmers' trade union mocked this rule when he stood for election for the third time in a row. ... But even more serious was his decision last October to run for a fourth term in office, because he simply ignored the result of the referendum that he himself had called in 2016. The people were to be allowed to decide on whether the limits on mandates should be lifted. The No camp won. But the former trade unionist took the view that the laws applied only to his opponents and presented himself for a fourth term.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Politics hiding behind obsolete ideologies

To attribute all the protests in South America to social inequality is to oversimplify the situation, Deutschlandfunk writes commenting on the developments in Bolivia:

“If there is something that all of the trouble spots in South America have in common, it's the deep divisions in society. A growing mistrust of those in power - whether on the right or on the left. And the reasons for this also differ from country to country. But what all countries have in common is that there is no centre. No attempt to find a political or social middle ground, no fight for the middle class or for the upwardly mobile - a group that also exists in South America. Politics blindly digs itself in behind ideological barricades that have long been torn down in other parts of the world.”