Socialist candidate Louis Ars receives letters of congratulation.
“We must lead the competitors. We will make Bolivia proud,” Mesa said in a tweet on Monday morning. He also thanked the voters who had supported him.
The country’s interim president, Janine Anez, said the results so far indicated that Ars had won.
“We still don’t have the official count, but from the data we have, Mr. Arce and [vice-presidential candidate] the master. [David] Choquehuanca has won the election. I congratulate the winners, ”Anez said on Twitter.
Arce, the front runner in the race, represents the Movement for Socialism, the party led by former president Evo Morales, now exiled in Argentina. Ars, whom Morales chose as his successor, previously served as the country’s finance minister.
His closest rival was Mesa, who leads the Bolivian Community Party.
According to Bolivian election rules, a candidate needs at least 40% of the vote to win, and is 10% ahead of his opponent to win the first round.
Less than 20% of the vote has been officially counted, and it may take days before the election winner is officially announced. Informal opinion polls indicate that Ars has leadership strong enough to claim the presidency.
The economy is suffering, too. Unemployment has risen since the pandemic began, and the International Monetary Fund expects a nearly 8% drop in GDP this year, and last month, the US credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Bolivia’s standing.
Meanwhile, former President Morales, who lives in Buenos Aires after fleeing Bolivia amid allegations of vote fraud last year, has expressed his desire to return to Bolivia.
Morales said in an interview with CNN: “Sooner or later we will return to Bolivia,” adding that his return was “just a matter of time.”