- Title: After a 14-year rule, Morales resigns from the Bolivian presidency
- Date: 17th December 2019
- Summary: SIGN THAT READS (Spanish) "I WANT THE REPUBLIC OF BOLIVIA BACK" LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (FILE - OCTOBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, CARLOS MESA, ARRIVING AT RALLY (SOUNDBITE) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, CARLOS MESA, SAYING: "We are here to defend democracy. We are here to build democracy".
- Embargoed: 31st December 2019 18:05
- Keywords: Bolivia El Chapare Evo Morales Interim President Jeanine Anez La Paz elections protest resignation
- Location: LA PAZ + SANTA CRUZ + EL CHAPARE + EL ALTO, BOLIVIA / MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- City: LA PAZ + SANTA CRUZ + EL CHAPARE + EL ALTO, BOLIVIA / MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- Country: Bolivia
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA004BAD3VPJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: With more than a decade at the helm of landlocked Bolivia, the country's leftist president Evo Morales handed in his resignation amidst violent protests in the aftermath of an election marred by fraud allegations.
On the night of election night on October 20, Bolivia's Supreme Electoral Tribunal suspended ballot counting that trended towards a second-round vote between Morales and the opposition candidate, Carlos Mesa. The next day when the count resumed the trend had changed, showing a Morales win in the first round by a narrow margin.
The announcement sparked violent protests across the country, with supporters of Morales facing off with his critics in street fighting.
Amidst a divided nation, international observers such as the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the European Union called for a second electoral round.
Although insisting on his victory, Morales gave the green light for an investigation of the election.
Morales' critics took to the streets to call for the incumbent to stand down. His supporters amassed on La Paz in solidarity with the embattled leader.
Morales had been in power for 13 years and was looking for his fourth term. The former Bolivian president accused his critics of seeking a coup.
In the clashes that ensued, at least 30 people were killed, 500 wounded and more than 400 arrested.
On November 8, riots in Cochabamba, Sucre and Santa Cruz saw a heavy presence of police and soldiers deployed to the streets. Morales supporters accused authorities of using heavy-handed tactics against them.
On November 10, police and the army called for Morales' resignation to restore law and order in the country.
Two days after his resignation, Morales travelled to Mexico on November 12 to seek political asylum under the leftist government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
After the resignation of Morales and his senior ministers, opposition senator Jeanine Anez was reportedly next in line to assume the role of interim president of Bolivia
Anez promised to appoint a new board for the electoral body and call new elections that would ban Evo Morales from being a presidential candidate.
A final report from the OAS on the troubled Bolivia vote pointed to a "deliberate" and "malicious" campaign to rig Bolivia's October election in favour of Morales.
On December 12, Morales arrived in Argentina after stints in Mexico and Cuba.
(Production: Monica Machicao, Liamar Ramos, Geraldine Downer, Paul Vieira)
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