MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) - Seven candidates are expected to run against the incumbent president, Evo Morales, in Bolivia's December election, national media reported on Tuesday.
The candidates include three indigenous Americans, one woman, one former military official, a lawyer, and a businessman.
In line with Bolivia's new constitution, which came into effect on February 7 after a referendum, the parliamentary and predidential elections will be held on December 6.
Electoral authorities ended registration of candidates overnight, and anounced on Tuesday that the election campain will start on October 5.
President Morales, who leads the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, currently has a popularity rating of 57%, and is expected to comfortably win the vote.
The leader said on Tuesday that "all candidates have the right to conduct their election campaigns across the country," and urged them to ensure the campaign runs peacefully.
Morales's main competitors are Samuel Doria Medina, leader of the National Unity Front (UN), and Manfred Reyes Villa, a former military official and candidate of the Progress Plan party (PPB-APB), with popularity ratings of 9,7% and 8,6% respectively.
Over 4 million Bolivians are expected to vote in the elections, including some 200,000 living outside the country. The next presidential term will run until 2015.
Morales has led Bolivia since 2006, and is the country's first fully indigenous national leader. Since he came to power, industries including oil and gas and transportation have been nationalized to fund social programs.