UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Bolivia’s interim president, Jeanine Agnès, on Sunday passed a law calling for presidential and legislative elections without the participation of former President Evo Morales, a move aimed at restoring peace in the South American country that has seen 32 people dead in violence.
The holding of new elections is crucial to the re-establishment of peace in resource-rich Bolivia, which, after the first round of a controversial presidential election on 20 October and declared victory by Morales, has seen violence kill 32 people.
“We have received a mandate to organize clean, fair and transparent elections. We guarantee that we will achieve this,” Agnès said after signing the bill at the government palace in La Paz at a ceremony broadcast on Bolivian television.
“With democracy, we will restore democracy,” she said.
The text, passed by parliament in both chambers on Saturday, cancels the October 20 presidential election in which Morales declared victory in a fourth term, angering the opposition, which condemned the vote “rigging”.
Morales resigned and left the country and is currently in exile in Mexico.
Agnès, who was temporarily inaugurated on November 12, did not say whether she intended to run.
The two chambers of parliament, where Moras’ party, MAS, has a majority, passed the law on Saturday, a sign of how divided it is over the outgoing president.
The next step is for the parliament to appoint the seven members of the Electoral Supreme Court.
After the controversial recent presidential election, several members of the Supreme Electoral Court were arrested for “irregularities” in the ballot.
The new Electoral Supreme Court has the responsibility to call the elections, and it must schedule them no later than 120 days from the date of the call for the electorate.
– La Paz suffers from food shortages –
Morales announced his victory in the October 20 election amid opposition from the opposition for fraud.
Following weeks of demonstrations and abandoned by the army, Morales announced his resignation on 10 November, and his supporters have been organizing near-daily demonstrations in La Paz and other cities to demand the departure of Agnès.
Morales did not comment from his Mexican exile on the announcement by Agnies, who accuses him of establishing a “dictatorship” in Bolivia.
In La Paz, saleswoman Marilyn Rodriguez, who works in a handbag shop, said: “We want new elections. Why? So everything is done in a transparent way.”
New elections could end Morales’ 14-year reign, which together with former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Rafael Correa of Ecuador has symbolized the Latin American left.
Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, first assumed the presidency in 2006, then won two new terms in 2009 and 2014.
The interim government accuses him of fomenting the conflict from exile in Mexico and filed a legal complaint against him on charges of “provoking sedition and terrorism.”
Members of the MAS party submitted a bill to exempt Morales from prosecution, but Agnès was quick to warn that she would refuse to issue a text that “pardons” those who “committed crimes, scorned the law and committed abuses.”
Demonstrations, both organized by opponents and then supporters of Morales, witnessed violence and clashes with security forces that killed 32 people.
Protesters cut off roads linking the Bolivian capital to the central agricultural areas, causing food shortages in La Paz’s markets and restaurants.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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