Also: Bulibya, Wuliwya.
Officially: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia; Buliwya Mamallaqta; Wuliwya Suyu; Tetã Volívia.
Seat of government: La Paz / Chuqiyapu.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly. The legislature (Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional) comprises the Cámara de Diputados, elected in geographical constituencies, by minority ethnic constituencies, and by party-list proportional representation in the departamentos (based on the presidential vote), and the Senado, elected by party-list proportional representation (again based on the presidential vote) in the departamentos (with equal representation for each).
Governing party: Movimiento al Socialismo.
Head of government: Luis Arce, president (since 2020).
Other legislative parties: Comunidad Ciudadana; Creemos.
Recent history: Elected president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (1993-7, 2002-3) of the
Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario, an entrepreneur raised in the United States, resigned in 2003 under pressure from protesters and amid civil violence. He was succeeded by Carlos Mesa (2003-5), the vice president. Amid massive, prolonged protests, Mesa also resigned. Supreme court head Eduardo Rodríguez (2005-6) became president pending the election of a new president. That election, in 2005, went to Evo Morales Ayma (2006-19) decisively in the first round; Morales was a protégé of Hugo Chávez, and followed his actions, including issuing a new constitution and removing presidential term limits, and taking financial and military support from him. MAS also dominated the 2005 legislative elections, winning an unprecedented majority. A separate constitutional assembly (2006-7) saw MAS use its simple majority to write a new constitution by itself; eastern provinces resisted this by declaring autonomy. The constitution then passed in a referendum in 2009. Later that year, Morales was easily reelected, and MAS expanded its legislative majority. In 2014, he was again easily reelected, and MAS expanded its legislative majority again, with two thirds in each house. But a proposed constitutional amendment to allow Morales to run for another term was rejected in a 2016 referendum. Morales pursued an annulment of constitutional terms limits through the courts, and the Supreme Tribunal of Justice complied. In 2019, he ran for a fourth term. To be elected in the first round, a candidate needs either a majority, or 40% with a 10% margin; Morales was leading Mesa by around 7% when the reporting of results was halted for a day, after which official results showed him just slightly clearing the 10% threshold. Large protests ensued, the Organization of American States questioned the official results, Morales offered a revote, and then, after the military chief suggested he resign, he did resign. Jeanine Áñez (2019-20) was chosen by the legislature, under contested circumstances, to succeed Morales. A new election in 2020 was won by Arce with a clear majority, and MAS took a majority in both houses of the legislature as well.
FH: 3-3, partly free (democratic). Econ: 6.15 (75), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2021 June 18.