Evo Morales calls for new elections in Bolivia after OAS report on 'irregularities'


The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, called on Sunday new elections “incorporating new political actors” and a total change of the electoral body, shortly after knowing a preliminary report of the Organization of American States that found irregularities in the elections of last October 20 .

"I have decided to renew the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and call new elections," Morales said in a press statement this Sunday without mentioning the OAS report. The president called on the mobilized sectors to pacify the country. "We all have to pacify Bolivia," he said.

Shortly before, the OAS audit commission recommended holding new elections with a new electoral tribunal, after finding enough irregularities in the presidential elections.

"The process was at odds with good practices and safety standards have not been respected," the commission said in a statement, released by OAS Secretary Luis Almagro, on his Twitter account. "Attentive to the accumulation of irregularities observed, it is not possible to guarantee the integrity of the data and give certainty of the results", among other observations. The conclusions of the analysis are binding, the preliminary report said.

Suspicions of fraud denounced by the opposition unleashed a social upheaval two weeks ago, with protests in favor and against the president throughout the country that have left three dead, more than one hundred injured and detained. Earlier on Sunday, the departmental opposition councilor from the southern region of Potosi, Edwin Herrero, told Bolivision that a delegation of almost 3,000 miners who were heading to La Paz was intercepted by groups close to the government and shot leaving three gunshot wounded The miners traveled in buses to reinforce the protests in La Paz.

The situation became more explosive since Friday with the mutiny of the police in several regions of the country. The worsening of the conflict led Morales to raise a national dialogue on Saturday that was rejected by the opposition.

The civic opposition had claimed the resignation of Morales and the call for new elections with a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

The commission made up of 36 experts said that “taking into account the statistical projections, it is possible that the candidate Morales was in first place and the candidate (Carlos) Mesa in second. However, it is statistically unlikely that Morales has obtained a 10 percent difference to avoid a second round, ”and recommended the restart of the electoral process“ as soon as there are new conditions that give new guarantees for its celebration, including a new composition of the electoral body ”.

After almost three years in the government, Morales arrived with the popularity diminished to the elections to opt for a fourth term. Corruption scandals, his eagerness to be reelected despite a referendum that denied him that possibility and accusations of authoritarianism, weakened his political capital despite his good economic management that led the Andean country towards growth with low inflation.

The political analyst Luis Ruiz said that the call for new elections is "an important step" that the president took. "This gives us a light to so much uncertainty and it is the political class that should give greater signals such as choosing reliable people to lead the new elections."

On the eve the Armed Forces through its commander-in-chief General William Kaliman said that the military “will never face the people we owe and will always ensure peace and coexistence. The problems in the political sphere must be solved in the interest of the country before reaching irreversible moments ”.

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