Sofia Sakorafa: The Struggle for Democracy Never Stops

MeRA25 MP and member of the PI observer delegation Sofia Sakorafa on the meaning of Bolivia’s election.
The Progressive International arrived in Bolivia to observe the country’s elections on 18 October 2020.
The Progressive International arrived in Bolivia to observe the country’s elections on 18 October 2020.

At a turning point in its modern history — and after a major political crisis that dragged on for almost a year — the Bolivian people were called upon to express their democratic will with the election of a new President, Vice President, and Congress.

Our presence in this process was more than an expression of our solidarity; it was a question of political responsibility. Our delegation was honoured to take part in this sacred function of the Bolivian Republic at this critical hour.

Every person with a democratic conscience, anywhere in the world, can only be moved by such moments — especially when one is fortunate enough to experience not only the procedure of democracy, but also the peoples’ sense of worry and determination concerning national developments.

Our conclusion is that the people of Bolivia have given their own answer to the fate of their country. Their participation in this peaceful election marks a critical turning point, closing a period of authoritarian rule as an unwanted parenthesis that belongs to the country’s past.

Regardless of each citizen's feeling for the final result, the rules of democracy impose — in a sacred and inviolable way — the obligation to respect the people’s right to self-determination, with the obvious prerequisite that the results were not affected by unwelcome factors.

The Bolivian people now confront fundamental challenges. Living standards, the distribution of national wealth and the allocation of national resources to social needs, access to education and the capacity of the educational system as a whole are the first problems against which Luis Arce’s political leadership will be judged. All this on top of the need to consolidate and deepen the democratic process in all operations– an imperative/unquestionable criterium for any democratic State.

To be sure, Bolivia’s crisis does not belong to Bolivia alone. The whole of Latin America — with the details that correspond to each country case — struggles to overcome its burdensome colonial past, imposed not only against their will, but also with utter disregard for the social needs and democratic desire of their peoples.

The feeling we have gained over the last few days is that Bolivians are determined to prove that they are strong and have a clear sense of their national duty to restore their country’s democracy.

Of course, elections are key moments in the process of building popular power. But the struggle for democracy never stops.

Our heartfelt best wishes for the future of Bolivia and its people. We will always stand by their side, and the side of its future generations, because they have history and justice on their side.

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Sofia Sakorafa

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