Sun, 15 Dec 2019

Bolivia's Morales Urges Opposition to 'Pacify the Country'

Voice of America
12 Nov 2019, 04:05 GMT+10

Bolivia's Evo Morales called on the opposition to "pacify the country" Monday as the political crisis deepens.

Morales resigned over the weekend after weeks of protests followed the October election which granted him a fourth term amid many "irregularities."

According to the Bolivian constitution, the vice president is next in line to take power when the president steps down. The head of the country's Senate is third in line, but both of them, as well as a number of other top ministers, resigned shortly after Morales, leaving a power vacuum in the South American country awaiting rescheduled elections.

Opposition leader Jeanine Anez said Sunday she would assume the interim presidency of Bolivia, but Congress must first be convened to vote her into power.

Morales sent a string of tweets lashing out at his opponents Monday, saying they had a "responsibility to pacify the country and guarantee the political stability and peaceful coexistence of our people."

Morales called his key opponents, Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho, "discriminators and conspirators," and also wrote that "violent groups" had attacked his home.

Mexico has described the ouster of Morales as a military coup, and said Monday that it would offer Morales political asylum. Some of his ministers and senior officials who stepped down over the weekend are currently seeking refuge in the Mexican ambassador's residence.

Latin America's longest-serving leader went into the election needing a 10 percentage-point lead to avoid a runoff and secure his fourth term in office in the October elections.

Partial results released after the election had predicted Morales would face a December runoff election against his main rival, former President Carlos Mesa.

Less than 24 hours later, the electoral commission released new numbers that showed with 95% of votes counted, Morales was just a 0.7 percentage point short of the 10 percentage-point mark.

The announcement prompted opposition complaints of fraud, and triggered violent protests in several cities.

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