The country’s Supreme Electoral Court announced late Saturday that it had decided unanimously against reporting running preliminary vote totals as ballots are counted. It said it wanted to avoid the uncertainty that arose when there was a long halt in reporting preliminary results during last year’s election.
Council President Salvador Romero said promised a safe and transparent official count, which could take five days.
To win in the first round, a candidate needs more than 50% of the vote, or 40% with a lead of at least 10 percentage points over the second-place candidate. A runoff vote, if necessary, would be held Nov. 28.
Bolivia’s entire 136-member Legislative Assembly also will be voted in.
The election was postponed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic. On a per capita basis, few countries have been hit harder than impoverished, landlocked Bolivia: Nearly 8,400 of its 11.6 million people have died of COVID-19.
The election will occur with physical distancing required between masked voters — at least officially, if not in practice.
The leading contenders are former Economy Minister Luis Arce, who led an extended boom under Morales, and former President Carlos Mesa. a centrist historian and journalist who was second to Morales in the disputed returns released after last year’s vote. Trailing in all the polls has been Luis Fernando Camacho, a conservative businessman who helped lead last year’s uprising, as well as a Korean-born evangelist.