Protests in Bolivia: President Morales announces call for new presidential elections

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Bolivian President Evo Morales on Sunday responded to the desire of the street rejecting the results of the October 20 ballot, announcing in a televised speech that he would call for new presidential elections in his country.

The Bolivian people should democratically choose the new authorities. Morales had previously promised that he would respect the results of the OAS election review. The organization, for its part, denounced fraud in the elections and announced that new elections should be called.

Bolivian President Evo Morales news
File AFP

In a televised speech on Sunday, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced that he would call new presidential elections in Bolivia in response to protests against the October 20 vote.

“I have decided to renew all the members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal,” Morales said. “I will call for new elections that will allow, through the election, the Bolivian people to democratically choose the new authorities.”

Ahead of Morales ‘announcement, the OAS called for the cancellation of the October 20 elections, condemning fraudulent acts, and announced that new elections should be called, as Morales’ victory caused widespread protests across the country.

Morales defended his election victory but said he would respect the results of the OAS review. Morales took office in 2006 as the country’s first indigenous leader.

The opposition rejects the president’s call for dialogue amid high tension

The opposition has rejected Morales’ call for dialogue in Bolivia, where clashes and demonstrators stormed radio and television stations on Saturday night.

Local media reported that the city of El Alto, adjacent to La Paz and a stronghold of Morales, was witnessing clashes at night.

Groups of pro-government demonstrators disrupted payment systems on a highway linking the two cities, while private UNITIL television said in a statement that facilities had been destroyed on Saturday night.

In a sign of rising tensions, President Morales spoke of the burning of his sister’s houses and the governor of the Oruro region, whose capital, the same name, a member of the presidential party, is moving towards socialism.

“We deplore and condemn the international community,” Morales wrote on Twitter. “… that a fascist coup plan includes violence by irregular groups who set fire to the homes of the rulers of Chuquisaca and Oruro, as well as my sister’s house in this city.”

Police forces join the ranks of protesters

The weeks-long standoff over the election results has been intensified in the past two days, with some police joining anti-government demonstrators and the military saying it would not “confront the people” over the issue.

OAS report proves “manipulations”

“The manipulation of computer systems was on a scale that required a detailed investigation by the state in Bolivia to reach its dimensions and to identify those responsible for that serious issue,” the OAS report said.

“The first round of elections held on October 20 must be canceled and the electoral process must be restored from the beginning,” it said in a separate statement. Elections should be held as soon as conditions were in place, including the formation of a new electoral commission.

The organization also noted that it was statistically unlikely that Morales had managed to get votes by 10 percentage points, which enables him to win from the first round.

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