What are the irregularities detected by the OAS in the elections in Bolivia

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The decision to repeat the elections announced by Evo Morales on Sunday is against the background of the preliminary report of the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS team of auditors found irregularities in all aspects under investigation, which led the organization's secretary general, Luis Almagro, to request the annulment of the elections on October 20.

The main focus of the investigation was the so-called Transmission System of Preliminary Results or TREP, the complex measurement mechanism that suffered an unexpected "blackout" when he anticipated a second electoral round between President Evo Morales and the opponent Carlos Mesa. After remaining suspended for almost a day, the system showed a surprising change in trend and awarded Morales the ten points of difference that gave him the victory in the first round.

In their investigation, the auditors revealed that at least one of the system's servers, initially set aside to serve as a database for the electoral authorities, "was not used for the purpose on which the team was notified" and that the data of the system were diverted to an external server, outside the official network, and whose existence was omitted.

"It is strange that the flow of data is redirected to a foreign network, not foreseen or documented. It is extremely serious and affects the transparency of the process," said the auditors, who also do not understand the absence of documents on the interruption of the TREP.

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For all these reasons, they consider that there was a "Clear manipulation that affected both the results of this system, as well as those of the final calculation".

Proceedings under suspicion

The electoral records were also questioned by the auditors, after conducting an expert analysis of a sample of 333 documents, in particular at the tables where the party of Morales, the Movement to Socialism (MAS), obtained extraordinarily high percentages of votes.

"From the analysis carried out it was concluded that 78 minutes (23% of the sample) presented irregularities from the expert point of view. In some cases, it was verified that all the minutes of the same center had been completed by the same person, "according to the report.

Evo Morales announced the repetition of the elections since the hangar of the Bolivian Air Force. (AP)

Evo Morales announced the repetition of the elections since the hangar of the Bolivian Air Force. (AP)

In fact, the auditors point out that this person, on occasion, was precisely the table representative of the Morales party, credited twice as the principal delegate of the voting center.

Anyway, the auditors especially expressed their disbelief at the percentage of votes favorable to the MAS, which came to obtain one hundred percent support in some counts. "In some of these documents the field corresponding to the votes of the opposition parties had not even been completed with a zero," they point out.

The team of investigators also detected a lack of correspondence between signatures of original records and copies distributed to the authorities and the OAS and even forgeries. In other constituencies of Potosi, Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz, part of the documentation "was set on fire".

Chaotic chain of custody

Incidents such as the burning of the minutes imply to the auditors of the OAS that "there are currently no necessary controls for the chain of custody of sensitive electoral material" and "evidence of the lack of protection, adequate provisions and poor coordination among officials electoral and security forces. "

It is a serious problem because In Bolivia there is no possibility to carry out a traditional vote count, so the protection of electoral records is a critical aspect to give guarantees to the electoral process.

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"The control of who handles the minutes and where they are at all times is essential," the auditors explain before describing as "blunt" the preliminary findings of their investigation, pending a more complete report.

Invalid Victory

"The team cannot validate a victory in the first round of President Evo Morales", conclude the auditors. OAS researchers refer to the statistical projections of the voting system, also failed because of their lack of precision.

"Taking into account the statistical projections, it is possible that candidate Morales was in first place and candidate Mesa in second. However, It is statistically unlikely that Morales has obtained a 10% difference to avoid a second round, "they estimate.

As a final note, the team adds that its work was performed without any type of clippers by the Bolivian authorities, who had decided to accept their opinion as binding, in an attempt to placate both the opposition's demands and the enormous social tension that the country.

This preliminary report that the OAS made available to the public this Sunday was scheduled for publication next Wednesday, but the organization's secretary general, Luis Almagro, decided to advance its dissemination.

With information from DPA



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https://www.clarin.com/mundo/irregularidades-detecto-oea-elecciones-bolivia_0_iBEDufTW.html

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