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Bolivia’s Morales resigns amid election fraud allegations and loss of military support

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. Three people have died in the protests and hundreds have been injured.

“I regret this deeply,” Morales said, speaking on national television. He will send his resignation letter to Congress in the next few hours, he said.

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Morales did not plan to leave the country, he said. “I don’t need to escape. I want the people of Bolivia to know that I have not robbed anyone, nothing. If someone thinks we are stealing, then tell me. Present the proof.”

Demonstrators and the Bolivian opposition had accused electoral authorities of manipulating the vote count in favor of Morales, the country’s longtime socialist leader. Morales denied the allegations, but declared himself the winner.

Morales was one of the longest-serving heads of state in Latin America. He had served nearly 14 years and was Bolivia’s first indigenous president. He won his first election with a campaign that promised a government focused on the needs of the country’s poor. But he was also accused of using the system to concentrate power.

Celebrations broke out across the country as news of his resignation spread.

Vice President Álvaro García Linera also announced his resignation minutes after Morales. According to the Bolivian Constitution, the President of the Senate Adriana Salvatierra Arriaza, 30, would be next in the line of succession. But it’s not clear if she will ascend to the presidency because of widespread opposition to Morales’ party.

Morales resigned just hours after he promised new elections would be held and the country’s electoral council replaced following a report by the Organization of American States (OAS).

A series of alleged irregularities — including failures in the chain of custody for ballots, alteration and forgery of electoral material, redirection of data to unauthorized servers and data manipulation — impacted the official vote count, the OAS said.

In the hours after polls closed, preliminary results showed Morales slightly ahead of his opponent, former President Carlos Mesa. The tight margin would have prompted a runoff vote in December.

But the opposition and international observers became suspicious after election officials stopped the count for about 24 hours without an explanation. When the count resumed, Morales’ lead had jumped significantly.

“The manipulations to the computer system (used in the elections) are of such magnitude that they must be deeply investigated by the Bolivian State to get to the bottom (of this issue),” the OAS said, in part.

The organization recommended new elections be held under the umbrella of “new electoral authorities in order to offer a reliable process.”

Calls for Morales’ resignation grew over the weekend. On Saturday, various police units joined those calls, while the head of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Commander Williams Kaliman, said his units would not confront protesters.

By Sunday Kaliman had gone a step further and asked Morales to resign in order to restore stability and peace.

A number of other government party officials on Sunday announced they were stepping down, including mayors and Víctor Borda, President of the Chamber of Deputies.

The U.S. State Department is monitoring the “quickly unfolding events” in Bolivia, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said. Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commended the OAS audit and said the US supported the new election and the installation of a new electoral council.

“In order to to restore credibility to the electoral process, all government officials and officials of any political organizations implicated in the flawed October 20 elections should step aside from the electoral process,” Pompeo said.
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Credit: CNN, www.cnn.com

23 thoughts on “Bolivia’s Morales resigns amid election fraud allegations and loss of military support

  1. This reminds me of the days when the military junta would take control of the Ecuadorian govt. after things got out of hand. It’s a quick way to stabilize the country. Morales saw it coming and my hat’s off to him for conceding. He served his country, Bolivia, well during his time as president, as did Correa during his time as president of Ecuador. But, nobody can stop that pendulum from swinging left to right and then back again, which is probably a good thing.
    What pisses me off is when other, more powerful countries stick their piggy noses into it.

    1. The other countries discovered and revealed the voting irregularities. Let us give credit where credit is due. Had they not been revealed it is possible the Morales would have not resigned. I agree and commend Morales for resigning. That is much better than fighting tooth and nail like Maduro in Venezuela is doing and decimating the country.

  2. It was interesting to hear from the Bolivians that they feel that Bolivia’s cocaine income has been helping Maduro in Venezuela stay in power. Word on the street is that now that Morales is gone Maduro is next. The 5 million Venezuela that left the country will be glad to have their country back. Unfortunately Maduro doesn’t give a darn about how many of his people are killed so that he can stay in power.

    At least Morales has compassion for his own country and with resigning has prevented any more bloodshed. The 2 people that were killed were done by Cuban militia that were brought over to help Morales. The Bolivian people are upset that militia from Cuba and Venezuela are being sent here and don’t care who they harm.

    1. Can you please show documents that back your statements regarding Morales taking help for or with other countries?

    2. Yes and word on the street has it that the CIA likes that cocaine income as well and they are willing to fight for it through their proxies…

    3. Can you please show documents that back your statements regarding Morales taking help for or with other countries?

      1. Oh yea right. That is a ridiculous request. I’m sure they shot and then say “here let me document it for you to prove that I did it” I think NOT

      2. Give the locals at least a little credit. Don’t you think they can pinpoint a foreign militia in their midst. And no they would not have written proof of this.

        1. Oh, so you now are a seasoned, omnipotent local in all theses countries? Your self importantance is overwhelming!
          Lithium privatization seems like a possible reason for the military coup?

          1. Attacking others because you do not like what you hear from them is extremely petty and unacceptable behaviour. It does not matter to me whether you believe what these people are telling us or not

            This information is only for the people that are genuinely interested in what the Bolivians are feeling and saying. This is what the people Bolivia are telling us

            1. I’m questioning your qualifications, experience, sources, and veracity. Your comments of ‘Bolivians said’ Moduro runs a Coke ring, sings like a political troll attack without verification.

              1. Talk to the people in La Paz. That is exactly what they are telling us. They live there, do you not think that their qualifications, experience, sources and veracity has merit. If you can not believe the people of their own country then who do you believe

                1. Thanks for making my point. The people of Bolivia are a better source than political hearsay!
                  Now can you name your sources? Who said Morales is running a coke ring?

                  1. The people of Bolivia are saying it. We were surprised how many people told us they did not vote for Morales this time yet voted for him before. 20 minutes ago I just spoke to a person that is from Cochabamba which is Morales strong hold and this old guy told me he did not vote for Morales this time mainly for that reason. NO, David Johnson, you can not have his name

                    1. Nice spin on the fairy tale. An old guy told me that Your allegations sound like a good Corpicrat troll. Sniff some more of the fairy dust and collect the $20 corporate Dole.

              2. Were you one of the same people asking for qualifications from the Venezuelans that were explaining the atrocities they experienced and were you questioning their experiences (as they begged in the streets) and were you asking the Venezuelans for sources (as they dragged all their belongings with them)

                Are you one of those people that accused the Venezuelans of being trolls when they complained about Maduro and having no food or medicine.
                And if you were one of those people asking Venezuelans for verification of their stories you obviously treat people unfairly.
                When are you going to start listening to the people that are actually living it rather than being an armchair critic

  3. This was a military coup. Anyone who cares about democracy, whether their politics is left, right or center, must oppose this. The military turned on President Morales immediately after he proposed new elections under new circumstances. That would have been a democratic solution. The military coup is an undemocratic solution, and in the end, it will probably not resolve anything. If a right-wing comes to power now, it may well be short lived. Just as President Mauricio Macri was a one term President of Argentina. The right in Bolivia may well run into massive resistance immediately.

    1. Another way to look at it is that the military applied an interim legal solution. Clearly Morales unlawfully and un-democratically participated in an election he was ineligible and in which he unlawfully manipulated the results. Or, would it have been more democratic for the same tyrant to run again with a new vote counters appointed by himself or his political allies?

  4. One down, three to go. Unfortunately, the remaining three, are willing to completely destroy their countries to remain in power. ( Maduro, Ortega, Canel-Diaz ). Once the military abandons them, they too will be done for. I have some Cuban friends here in Ecuador. One couple went back to Cuba recently to visit family. The stories they came back with…. According to these well educated, intelligent people, Cubans are barely managing to feed themselves.

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