191021 Bolivia
Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks to supporters at the presidential palace in La Paz, Bolivia, after a first round presidential election, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Image Credit: AP

La Paz: Evo Morales led Bolivia’s presidential election race Sunday but faces a historic second round run-off against opposition rival Carlos Mesa, partial results announced by election authorities showed.

Seeking a fourth term, Morales had 45 per cent of the vote to Mesa’s 38 per cent, with 84 per cent of the vote counted, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal said.

Elected Bolivia’s first indigenous president in 2005, he has won all his previous elections in the first round, never having to contest a run-off.

South Korean-born evangelical pastor, Chi Hyun Chung, was in third place with 8.7 per cent of the vote.

Morales, who will turn 60 next week, has been at the helm in the poor but resource-rich Latin American country for 13 years, and a new mandate would keep him in power until 2025.

The former coca farmer and leftist union leader obtained Constitutional Court permission in 2017 to run again for president even though the constitution allows only two consecutive terms.