Bolivia court disqualifies Morales from running for Senate

Former president Evo Morales is currently living in exile in Argentina having fled Bolivia in November (AFP Photo/RONALDO SCHEMIDT)

La Paz (AFP) - Bolivia's supreme electoral court on Thursday disqualified exiled former president Evo Morales from running for a Senate seat in May's general election, saying he did not meet residency requirements.

Morales is currently living in exile in Argentina having fled Bolivia in November after resigning as president following three weeks of protests at his controversial re-election.

The supreme electoral court (TSE) said Morales's candidacy lacked the necessary documentation, but it said that his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party's presidential candidate, Luis Arce, met the qualification requirements.

Morales tweeted that the decision against him was "a blow to democracy" and that members of the court "know that I meet the requirements to be a candidate. The ultimate goal is to prohibit MAS."

Arce leads the pack of presidential contenders with 31.6 percent of the vote among those who plan to participate in the election, according to a recent survey by pollster Ciesmori.

He is followed by centrist candidate Carlos Mesa with 17.1 percent and Bolivia's conservative interim leader Jeanine Anez who has 16.5 percent.

Bolivia's general election campaign officially began on February 3 and comes on the heels of the October election when results were annulled after an audit by the Organization of American States found evidence of vote-rigging in Morales's favor.