After nationwide mass protests against his controversial re-election, Bolivia's leader Evo Morales announced his resignation on Sunday. "I renounce my presidency," said Morales Sunday on television. Shortly before, he had lost the backing of the army and police leadership, who, like the opposition, called for him to resign, although he promised new elections for the first time.
In the end, with more violence in the protests, a series of resignations in his own camp, and massive allegations of electoral fraud, Morales was only resigning. "Our big wish is that the social peace will return," the 60-year-old said in a televised speech on Sunday. He steps back to stop the violence of the opposition. The world should learn how oligarchs conspire against democracy, he says. Morales had previously spoken against a coup attempt.
After the announcement of the 60-year-old permanent president, thousands of people poured into the streets of the capital, La Paz, waving the Bolivian flag and celebrating the departure of Morales with BOllern. The former coca farmer has been in power in Bolivia since 2006.
In October he started for a fourth term. Bolivia's constitution would not have allowed another presidential candidacy, but the Constitutional Court granted Morales the right to serve another term in 2017. The presidential election on 20 October was highly controversial, and the official result was not recognized by the opposition for allegations of electoral fraud.
In just 30 seconds you will receive a free trial subscription.
Most recently, on Sunday, the Organization of American States (OAS) demanded that the election be invalidated because of widespread and serious irregularities. A preliminary OAS report said that there had been some irregularities in the counting of votes in almost every district investigated. The "manipulations" in the election are so severe that they need to be thoroughly investigated by the Bolivian state.
Morales then announced new elections, and all members of the Supreme Electoral Court should be replaced. However, he made neither information at the time of the elections nor to whether he wanted to start again.
Morales' challenger in the election, Carlos Mesa, then called for the resignation of the head of state, if this "still has a spark of patriotism". Also one of the leaders of the protest movement, Luis Fernando Camacho, demanded this. Citizens' committees, which had boosted the protest movement, demanded that both Morales and Mesa should not stand in new elections.
Subsequently, the events rashed: two ministers and the parliamentary president stepped down, not least because it came in the protests to violence against family members of the politicians. Then the army and police leadership of Morales turned away. The president should resign to facilitate a "pacification" of the mass protests shattered country and the "preservation of stability," said army chief William Kaliman.
The week-long protests following the presidential election had killed three people and injured more than 380 others. Finally, the situation in the South American country became more intense from hour to hour.
Finally, Morales announced his resignation – from his home region Cochabamba in central Bolivia. He was the first indigenous president of a Latin American country. In Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in the region, where 62 percent of the population is of indigenous descent, Morales was highly regarded at the beginning of his first term as supporter and promoter of the lower classes.
Although Bolivia – the poorhouse of South America – is thriving economically under the Socialist, its increasingly self-governing and authoritarian mannerisms have increasingly struck Bolivians. Above all, the people in the economically strong east of the country feel spoiled by Morales.
In the social networks on Sunday it was speculated whether Morales would settle abroad. The left-leaning Morales-long allied governments in Cuba and Venezuela strongly condemned the events in Bolivia and spoke of a "coup".