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Arce (center, with badge) celebrates on election night. Photo: Javier Mamani/Getty Images

Leftist candidate Luis Arce won an "overwhelming and clear" victory in Bolivia's presidential election, his chief opponent said Monday in a concession speech.

Why it matters: Looming over Sunday's vote were the events of one year ago, when then-president Evo Morales was ousted and fled into exile following a disputed election. He was controversially succeeded by a right-wing senator, Jeanine Añez, deepening a political crisis which appears to have ended with an emphatic mandate for Morales' party, the Movement for Socialism.

Setting the scene: Arce had long led centrist former president Carlos Mesa in the polls, but needed either an outright majority or a 10% margin of victory to avoid a runoff.

  • Some feared a contested outcome that could further imperil Bolivia's democracy, given the polarization and sporadic violence of the past year.
  • The crisis began when official results in last year's election showed Morales barely clearing the 10% threshold to avoid a runoff, kicking off a chaotic period in which the Organization of American States said it found evidence of fraud, and Morales fled the country under pressure from the military — an outcome his supporters labeled a coup.
  • Añez was declared acting president under constitutionally questionable circumstances, and was accused of misusing her interim role to target the left and seek election herself (she dropped out in September out after polls showed her in fourth place).

The state of play: This time, the fight was effectively over as soon as polls closed.

  • While the official results haven't been declared, two independent exit polls showed Arce winning a convincing first-round victory. Añez acknowledged Arce's victory on election night and Mesa conceded the following day.

Between the lines: Arce is a far different figure from his charismatic former boss, who was seen by supporters as the founding father of a new Bolivia and by opponents as a would-be authoritarian.

  • Arce served as Morales' economy minister for 12 years, overseeing robust economic growth and earning a reputation as a pragmatic technocrat.
  • Arce distanced himself from Morales at times during the campaign, and his allies have insisted he will govern as his own man and not as a stand-in for the former president.
  • “I think the Bolivian people want to retake the path we were on,” he said at an election night event.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump's plan to declare premature victory

Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

President Trump has told confidants he'll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he's "ahead," according to three sources familiar with his private comments. That's even if the Electoral College outcome still hinges on large numbers of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania.

The latest: Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Trump denied that he would declare victory prematurely, before adding, "I think it's a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it's a terrible thing when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over."

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.