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World What's next for Bolivia?

20:45  13 november  2019
20:45  13 november  2019 Source:   bbc.com

Bolivian opposition leader calls for new presidential election

  Bolivian opposition leader calls for new presidential election Bolivian opposition leader calls for new presidential electionFormer Bolivian president Carlos Mesa, the closest rival to Morales in official vote tallies, said, "The best solution to this crisis is a new election.

In the space of three weeks Bolivia has gone from having one of the longest-serving presidents in the region to having a little-known senator as interim leader. We take a closer look at what may come next.

Who is in charge?

Evo Morales standing in front of a bus: After Evo Morales left for Mexico, there was a power vacuum© Reuters After Evo Morales left for Mexico, there was a power vacuum

After the resignation of Evo Morales on Sunday, it would have fallen to Bolivia's vice-president, Álvaro García Linera, to take over power. But Mr García Linera left the country on the same plane as Mr Morales to seek asylum in Mexico.

  • Bolivia's democracy shaky as interim leader prepares country for elections
  • Highs and lows of Evo Morales' presidency
  • Conflict fills political vacuum after Morales

Under Bolivia's constitution, next in line would have been the leader of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, followed by the leader of the Chamber of Deputies, Víctor Borda, but both resigned, leaving the deputy leader of the Senate, Jeanine Áñez.

Under pressure, Bolivian president calls for new election

  Under pressure, Bolivian president calls for new election Buckling under mounting pressure, Bolivian President Evo Morales called for new elections on Sunday following deadly nationwide protests over a disputed vote he claimed to have won. South America's longest-serving leader made the announcement after a preliminary report by the Organization of American States found a "heap of observed irregularities" in the Oct. 20 presidential contest and recommended a new election. Without mentioning the OAS report, Morales said he would replace the country's electoral body and urged all political parties and all sectors to help bring peace to the Andean nation after protests in which three people have been kille

Shortly after Mr Morales' resignation, Ms Áñez, who is from the opposition Democratic Union party, tearfully announced that she was willing to act as interim president "to put an end to the vandalism and the deaths".

In a Senate session on Tuesday, which was boycotted by members of Mr Morales' party, she assumed interim leadership amid loud applause from opposition senators.

Mr Morales called it "the sneakiest and most nefarious coup in history", pointing to the fact that due to his party's boycott not enough senators had been present to approve the move.

But Bolivia's constitutional court released a statement endorsing Ms Áñez and explaining that in the case of the presidency being left vacant, congressional approval was not needed for her to assume power.

Bolivian President Evo Morales is resigning

  Bolivian President Evo Morales is resigning Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned Sunday amid growing opposition after an international audit found the results of last month's election could not be validated due to "serious irregularities."Morales said he was stepping down "for the good of the country," which has been roiled by protests in the days following the October 20 election.

What happens next?

Under Bolivia's constitution, Ms Áñez now has 90 days to call fresh elections. The interim leader said she was committed to holding new polls and taking "all measures necessary to pacify the country".

a woman sitting at a table: Jeanine Áñez has said she would hold © Reuters Jeanine Áñez has said she would hold "transparent elections soon"

She will have to name a new transition cabinet to govern the country until a new president is elected.

Ms Áñez has said that she wants to speed up the process of calling new elections so a new president is in place by 22 January, the day Mr Morales' term would have expired had he not resigned.

Is calm likely to return to the streets?

Bolivia remains deeply polarised and the way Ms Áñez has become interim leader is unlikely to settle matters. Clashes broke out immediately after Tuesday's senate session with security forces firing tear gas at protesters.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Supporters of Evo Morales have set off on a protest march from El Alto to La Paz© AFP Supporters of Evo Morales have set off on a protest march from El Alto to La Paz

Opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho, who was one of the most vocal opponents of Mr Morales, told his supporters to dismantle the barricades they had set up and stop their protests.

But supporters of Mr Morales are unlikely to accept the departure from office of their president quietly. Coca growers, a key group backing Mr Morales, said they would protest until he returned to power.

It is not yet clear what Mr Morales himself is planning. Speaking as he landed in Mexico City, he said that he would "continue the struggle" but he has not specified whether he is going to do so from Mexico or whether he plans to return to Bolivia.

Bolivia's Congress to vote on proposal for new elections: official .
Bolivia's Congress will vote on a proposal Saturday that could open the door to new elections in the crisis-hit country, as the caretaker government prepares to meet with protesters to end weeks of unrest. In a potential breakthrough in the crisis, the government announced late Friday that it would meet with various opposition groups at the presidential palace on Saturday afternoon. They hope to strike an agreement to "pacify the country," Public Works Minister Yerko Nunez told reporters.

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