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Bolivia's President Evo Morales resigns amid calls for fresh elections

posted onNovember 11, 2019

Bolivia's first indigenous president Evo Morales has resigned after nearly 14 years in power. The military, police and opposition suggested he step down after protests over his election win last month. 

Vice president Alvaro Garcia Linera also resigned, followed by senate president Adriana Salvatierra. 
Bolivia has been rattled by weeks of anti-government protests, resulting in three deaths and hundreds of people injured. Demonstrators and the Bolivian opposition had accused electoral authorities of manipulating the vote count in favor of Morales.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) on Sunday said it found “serious irregularities” in the 20 October presidential electi​on vote and a new vote should be held.

"Our great desire is for societal peace for return," said Morales, 60, in his televised remarks. "I ask you to stop attacking the brothers and sisters, stop burning and attacking,"  Latin America's longest-serving leader told the Bolivian people.

Following the news, Venzuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, said in a Twitter post that he "condemns categorically the coup" against Morales.  

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, also described the resignation as a coup. He called on the world to "mobilize for Evo's life and freedom."  

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter that his country “recognised the responsible attitude of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who preferred to resign rather than to expose his people to violence”. 

The Mexican foreign minister also rejected the "coup" and tweeted that his country would offer asylum to Morales if he wants it.

"Mexico, in accordance with its tradition of asylum and non-intervention, has received 20 people from the Bolivian executive and legislature at the official residence in La Paz, so we would also offer asylum to Evo Morales," wrote Marcelo Ebrard.

The US State Department is monitoring the "quickly unfolding events" in Bolivia, a US State Department spokesperson said.  

It was not immediately clear who would succeed Morales, a former leader of a coca growers union, who paved roads, sent Bolivia’s first satellite into space and curbed inflation. 

UPDATE 12/11/2019

Morales was granted asylum by Mexico,  Marcelo Ebrard, the top diplomat in Mexico City said on Monday. 

“His life and integrity are safe,” Ebrard wrote on Twitter and confirmed Morales had boarded a Mexican government plane.
Morales said on Twitter he was thankful to Mexico. He also said it hurt to be leaving his country  for political reasons but he would return with more "strength and energy". 

The OAS will gather on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Bolivia.

UPDATE 13/11/2019

After the resignation of Morales, opposition politician Jeanine Anez on Tuesday declared herself Bolivia's interim president.

"Before the definitive absence of the president and vice president ... as the president of the Chamber of Senators, I immediately assume the presidency as foreseen in the constitutional order," Senator Anez, 52,  said.

Morales, who arrived in Mexico City earlier on Tuesday and thanked President Obrador for granting him asylum,  called Anez's move to replace him part of "the most cunning and disastrous coup in history". 

UPDATE 16/11/2019

In an interview with Reuters on Friday (Nov. 15) in Mexico City, Morales said that fresh elections could be held without him. 

“For the sake of democracy, if they don’t want me to take part, I have no problem not taking part in new elections,” Morales told the news agency. “I just wonder why there is so much fear of Evo.”

Morales, who is technically still Bolivia’s president because lawmakers have yet to formally accept his resignation, suggested he would seek to return home “as soon as possible,” once that process was complete.

“I’ll come back as a simple party activist,” he said. “To contribute with my experience, to organise, to mobilise for the campaign.” 

With reporting by Reuters and news agencies