Second Morales minister detained in Bolivia

A second minister from the Bolivian government of now-exiled president Evo Morales, seen here, has been detained (AFP Photo/RONALDO SCHEMIDT)
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La Paz (AFP) - Authorities in Bolivia on Friday detained a former minister in the government of exiled ex-president Evo Morales.

Cesar Cocarico, the ex-minister of rural development and lands, was arrested for breaching his duties and influence peddling while in office, police Colonel Ivan Rojas told reporters.

It comes a day after Bolivia's supreme electoral court disqualified Morales from running for a Senate seat in May's general election, saying he did not meet residency requirements as he is currently living in Argentina.

Cocarico, a former La Paz governor, is the second Morales minister to be placed under arrest.

Former interior minister Carlos Romero was arrested in January and is being investigated for irregularities at a state anti-drugs unit.

Morales fled Bolivia in November after resigning as president following three weeks of protests over his controversial re-election.

Dozens of officials in his former government have been threatened with arrest.

They include three high-profile former ministers -- Juan Ramon Quintana, Vilma Alanoca and Javier Zabaleta. Facing sedition and terrorism charges, the three have been holed up at the Mexican embassy since November.

Bolivia will hold general elections on May 3, with Morales' Movement for Socialism (MAS) party leading in the polls with more than 31 percent, ahead of the centrist party of Carlos Mesa on 17 percent. Right-wing Interim President Jeanine Anez is trailing on 16 percent.

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