Bolivia - Leadership



Sánchez de Lozada is a proven leader with a solid record of fiscal economic management. As a wealthy businessman with excellent relations with the international community and lending institutions, Sánchez de Lozada's only downside is his advanced age. In a country where life expectancy is just 64 years, the 72-year-old president is older than more than 99% of his country's population. Even though he successfully maintained control of the MNR party and achieved a presidential nomination, some observers felt his leadership would be counterproductive in the long run. Yet, as leaders from established parties failed to move ahead in the polls and antiestablishment candidates gained support, Sánchez de Lozada became the candidate of choice of the political elite and the international financial institutions. He contrasted his leadership and experience with the antiestablishment and populist discourse of indigenous leader Evo Morales and probusiness populist Manfred Reyes. The United States sent strong and influential signals against the candidacy of Morales, implying that much of his support came from coca leaf (from which cocaine is produced) growers. In turn, many voters expressed their concern over the scant political experience of Manfred Reyes. When the elections were held and Congress was forced to choose between the former president and indigenous populist Evo Morales, Sánchez de Lozada was voted into his second term as president of Bolivia.

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