Bolivian President Morales announces his resignation

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La Paz – Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced his resignation in the face of mass protests. "I'm giving up my presidency," Morales said on Sunday. Shortly before, Morales had promised new elections, but the army and police leadership called him to resign.

Reports of an escape of the controversial head of state to Argentina were initially not confirmed. Morales bowed to his move of week-long protests against the October 20 presidential election, which the opposition believes had tampered with the incumbent.

Allow "preservation of stability"

After a critical report by international experts on the poll, Morales announced new elections on Sunday, but he could not bring the situation under control. Army chief Williams Kaliman called on the president shortly thereafter to resign. This should enable a "pacification" of the country shaken by mass protests and the "preservation of stability," he told journalists. Previously, police units had already denied allegiance to the ailing head of state. The national police chief Vladimir Yuri Calderon now also openly demanded the resignation of Morales.

Morales had been in power since 2006 and was in office for a fourth term. Morales' challenger in the election, Carlos Mesa, called for the resignation of the head of state on Sunday if he "still has a spark of patriotism." Also one of the leaders of the protest movement, Luis Fernando Camacho, demanded Morales' resignation. Citizens' committees, which had boosted the protest movement, demanded that both Morales and Mesa should not stand in new elections. (APA, AFP, dpa, Reuters

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