Bolivia is dropping its bid to host the Miss Universe pageant because it would cost more than anticipated.

President Evo Morales has lobbied foreign leaders to help him bring the glamorous contest to the impoverished South American nation.

But Culture Minister Zulma Yugar said Sunday that a closer look at estimated expenses forced the government to pull out.

Developing countries including Vietnam and Thailand have hosted the pageant in recent years.

Nevertheless, Miss Universe was an odd fit for an anti-capitalist president who is a strong advocate of indigenous culture. Political opponents accused Morales and his party of using the pageant to court voters in conservative eastern Bolivia ahead of April local elections.