Mr. Morales’s wrongdoings, he added, had been papered over by journalists and left-wing politicians “who have a fascination with the fact that he was the first Indigenous president.”
“We are the only political force in this country with the ability to begin reconciliation, heal the wounds and construct a space of unity,” he said.
A third candidate, Luis Fernando Camacho, threatens to split the conservative vote, pushing Mr. Arce and Mr. Mesa to a potential runoff.
In the streets of La Paz last week, much of the conversation was not about Mr. Arce, Mr. Mesa or Mr. Camacho — but about the legacy Mr. Morales leaves behind.
During Mr. Morales’s time in office, he promised to lift many living on the margins, and in some places fulfilled that promise, building schools, hospitals and roads. The country’s poverty rate fell to 35 percent of the population from 60 percent, according to World Bank figures.
But Mr. Zelada, the disillusioned Morales supporter, said he ultimately felt that the former president wasted his chance to truly transform the country. Mr. Morales ran Bolivia amid a commodities boom — with money pouring into the country — and his party controlled congress for all 14 years of his presidency.
The president could have done so much more, Mr. Zelada said. He plans to vote for Mr. Mesa.
Mr. Morales’s party held its final campaign event this week in El Alto, an MAS stronghold that sits perched above the capital. It was a block party, and hundreds, if not thousands, attended. Women in traditional skirts gathered under a canopy of fireworks while their husbands tipped beers to the ground, an offering to Mother Earth.