New research by the MIT Election Data and Science Lab suggests that the Organisation of American States' (OAS) analysis of supposed electoral fraud in Bolivia is “deeply flawed.”
The Washington Post reported Monday that researchers John Curiel and Jack R. Williams found no statistical evidence that proved such allegations.
The OAS found that fraud occurred when the preliminary count halted at 84 percent of the votes counted. Before the cut-off, Morales had a 7.87 percent lead. When the count resumed, his margin had surpassed 10 percent—the margin that Morales needed in order to win the election, as stated by the Bolivian constitution.
Bolivia is preparing for new presidential elections in May after Morales was ousted in a military coup last November.
Following the country’s October elections, Bolivians protested alleged electoral fraud by Morales and the Movimiento al Socialismo Party (MAS). An OAS audit supported the claim of fraud, and, as a result, the military forced Morales to resign. He has since left Bolivia to seek asylum in Mexico and then in Argentina.
Interim president Jeanine Áñez charged Morales with terrorism and sedition and barred him from participating in the May election.
The 60-year-old is currently exiled in Argentina, but he has vowed to return to his homeland to lead his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party's campaign, despite a warrant for his arrest.
MAS led the most recent opinion poll with 26 percent of voter intentions, and Morales has named former economy minister Luis Arce as the party's candidate.
“There is not any statistical evidence of fraud that we can find — the trends in the preliminary count, the lack of any big jump in support for Morales after the halt, and the size of Morales’s margin all appear legitimate,” Curiel and Williams reported.