Monday, 11 November 2019

Bolivia's President Resigns Amid Fraud Allegations

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation Sunday under mounting pressure from the military and the public after his re-election victory triggered weeks of fraud allegations and deadly protests.

The decision came after a day of fast-moving developments, including an offer from Morales to hold a new election. The crisis deepened dramatically when the country's military chief went on national television to call on him to step down.

"I am sending my resignation letter to the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia," the 60-year-old socialist leader said, portraying his departure as the culmination of a "coup d'etat."

He added: "I ask you to stop attacking the brothers and sisters, stop burning and attacking."

Before Morales had even finished his statement, people began honking their car horns in La Paz and other cities and took to the streets to celebrate, waving Bolivian flags and setting off fireworks.

"This is not Cuba, nor Venezuela. This is Bolivia, and Bolivia is respected," a crowd in the capital shouted.

Large crowds formed in the main squares in the capital, with many people rejoicing and some crying tears of joy. Protesters lay down in front of the presidential palace and set a coffin on fire to symbolize the death of the Morales government.

"We are celebrating that Bolivia is free," said one demonstrator near the presidential palace.

It was not immediately clear who would succeed Morales. His vice president also resigned as did the Senate president, who was next in line. The only other official listed by the constitution as a successor, the head of the lower house, already had resigned.

Morales was the first member of Bolivia's indigenous population to become president and was in power for 13 years and nine months, the longest span in the country's history.

But his claim to have won a fourth term last month set off unrest that left three people dead and over 100 injured in clashes between his supporters and opponents.

Earlier Sunday, the Organization of American States said in a preliminary report that it had found a "heap of observed irregularities" in the Oct. 20 election and that a new vote should be held.

Source :AP

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