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President Of Bolivia Resigns Under Pressure

President Of Bolivia Resigns Under Pressure
November 11
07:24 2019

The President of the South American nation of Bolivia Evo Morales has resigned amid turmoil following his disputed re-election last month.

On Sunday, international monitors called for the election result to be annulled, saying they had found “clear manipulations” of the 20 October poll.

Mr Morales agreed with the findings and announced his intention to call fresh elections – after overhauling the country’s election body.

But politicians – and the army and police chiefs – had urged him to quit.

Some of his allies were attacked earlier this week, and said their homes had been set alight.

In a televised address, Mr Morales said he would resign as president, and urged protesters to “stop attacking the brothers and sisters, stop burning and attacking”.

On the streets of La Paz, celebration – for millions of Bolivians, the demise of the region’s longest-standing president could not have come soon enough.

In the end it was a call by the armed forces that signalled the end, telling Evo Morales he had to go for the sake of Bolivia’s stability.

But while for many he was an undemocratic leader holding on to power, for others, especially poor Bolivians, Evo Morales was a president who gave a voice to millions. The first indigenous leader Bolivia ever had, he succeeded in making a deeply unequal society more inclusive.

Tensions first flared on the night of the presidential election after the results count was inexplicably stopped for 24 hours. The final result gave Mr Morales slightly more than the 10-percentage-point lead he needed to win outright in the first round of the race.

At least three people died during clashes that followed. Some uniformed police officers also joined the protesters.

On Sunday, the Organization of American States, which monitored the elections, said it had found evidence of wide-scale data manipulation, and could not certify the result of the previous polls.

Pressure continued to build on Mr Morales during the day, as several of his political allies resigned, some citing fears for the safety of their families.

Mr Morales, who was Bolivia’s first indigenous president, had served as leader since 2006.

He ran for a fourth consecutive term in the October elections after a controversial decision by the constitutional court to scrap presidential term limits.

In a 2016 referendum, a majority had voted “no” to dropping the limit of term numbers that Bolivians could serve. However, Mr Morales’ party took the issue to the constitutional court, which abolished the term limits altogether.

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