Bolivian President Evo Morales Calls for New Election

Walter Brandimarte and Fabiola Moura
1 / 2

Bolivian President Evo Morales Calls for New Election

(Bloomberg) -- President Evo Morales called for a new presidential vote in Bolivia amid growing unrest and after the Organization of American States said his re-election was marred by irregularities.

“New national elections will allow the Bolivian people to democratically choose new authorities with their vote,” Morales told reporters in La Paz on Sunday morning, calling for violence on the streets to end. “We all have the duty of pacifying Bolivia.”

Irregularities in the Oct. 20 vote mean it’s statistically unlikely that Morales obtained a 10% lead to avoid a runoff, the OAS said in a report published on its website Sunday. Morales didn’t say when the new vote will take place, but pledged to overhaul the electoral authority, which has been much criticized by the opposition and by monitors.

Protests over the contested election have grown and become more violent, with police mutinying in several cities over the weekend and reports of arson and attacks on local authorities. Before the OAS report, Bolivia’s Armed Forces said it supports a peaceful solution to the country and wouldn’t “confront” the population.

Police stopped guarding the presidential palace on Saturday, allowing protesters to congregate outside, the AP reported. Police in Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, Beni, Santa Cruz, Potosi and Oruro also joined protests challenging the results of the election, according to newspaper La Razon.

At least two people have died in demonstrations over the results of the vote in which Morales narrowly secured a fourth presidential term in the first round. Opponents alleged fraud and were pressing for a second round of elections.

(Adds details from Morales speech, violence over the weekend, starting in second paragraph.)

--With assistance from Fabiola Zerpa.

To contact the reporters on this story: Walter Brandimarte in Brasilia at wbrandimarte@bloomberg.net;Fabiola Moura in Sao Paulo at fdemoura@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at jspinetto@bloomberg.net, Matthew Bristow

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.