Morales Resigns Bolivian Presidency Amid Protests

  • "I am sending my resignation letter to the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia," Morales said.
  • The pressure on Morales increased after Bolivian Armed Forces commander Williams Kaliman suggested late Sunday that Morales resign.
  • The counting of votes was accompanied by controversy, with accusations on both sides.

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced on Sunday, in a statement from Cochabamba, his resignation amid escalating protests following the country’s controversial October 20 election. Alongside Morales, Vice President Alvaro García Linera also announced that he is leaving his post. Subsequently, the former Bolivian president spoke about his resignation via his social networks.

Evo Morales is a Bolivian politician and former cocalero activist who served as the 80th President of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019. On November 10, 2019, he resigned amidst significant unrest in the wake of a report by the Organization of American States alleging his government had rigged the year’s elections.

“I am sending my resignation letter to the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,” Morales said. “I ask you to stop attacking the brothers and sisters, stop burning and attacking.” He reiterated his decision to resign was “so that they don’t continue to mistreat relatives of union leaders, harming the most humble people. I am resigning, and I am very sorry for this blow.”

TV footage showed opposition supporters celebrating on the streets of La Paz. The pressure on Morales increased after Bolivian Armed Forces commander Williams Kaliman suggested late Sunday that Morales resign to allow “peace and stability, for the good of our Bolivia.”

Earlier, Morales had announced the holding of new elections, and the replacement of members of the Bolivian Superior Electoral Court, but failed to improve the mood of opponents. At the time, he said that his “main mission is to protect the life, preserve the peace, social justice and unity of the entire Bolivian community.” The announcement of the new election came after the Organization of American States (OAS) released a report on an audit of the electoral process, in which the body recommended the holding of new elections.

Carlos Mesa served as president of Bolivia from 2003 to 2005. A vocal critic of Evo Morales’ presidency, Mesa announced his candidacy for Bolivia’s 2019 presidential elections as part of the Revolutionary Left Front (FRI) party on October 6, 2018.

Prior to Morales’ resignation, the Bolivian press reported on Sunday several attacks on homes, including homes of Morales family members, and public buildings. On Twitter, the former president had denounced that “fascists” had set fire to the house of the governors of Chuquisaca y Oruro, as well as his sister, Esther Morales, in Oruro. State radio and TV stations, such as Bolivia TV, were the target of protests. After protesters attacked his house, House Speaker Víctor Borda also resigned from office on Sunday.

Bolivian presidential elections took place on October 20. Morales obtained 47.07% of the votes, while his main competitor, Carlos Mesa, garnered 36.51%. By Bolivian electoral rules, Morales was declared elected because he obtained more than 10% of votes than Mesa.

The counting of votes, however, was accompanied by controversy, with accusations on both sides. An observer mission from the Organization of American States (OAS) pointed to problems, such as the lack of security in the storage of ballot boxes and the suspension of counting.

Faced with the controversy, Morales and opposition leaders suggested that the Organization of American States (OAS) audit the outcome of the election, and Morales invited countries like Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States to participate in the process. Since then, popular protests have escalated, with the country’s opposition even setting a deadline for Morales to step down.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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