- Áñez said that she was legally entitled to take over the nation’s presidency and that with her decision, she sought to “pacify” the country.
- According to Bolivian laws, Áñez should have been appointed the President of the Senate, something that requires the votes of the majority of the chamber.
- Former President Evo Morales landed in Mexico City after the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador granted him political asylum.
Bolivian opposition senator Jeanine Áñez declared herself interim president of Bolivia on Tuesday, after the resignation and departure of Evo Morales from the country. The Second Vice President of the Senate made the declaration in a quick parliamentary session that lacked a quorum in the absence of the legislators who support the ex-president.
Áñez said that she was legally entitled to take over the nation’s presidency and that with her decision, she sought to “pacify” the country. However, the way in which she took office could increase tensions as she did so in a session without respecting the protocols of the Legislative Assembly.
According to Bolivian laws, Áñez should have been appointed the President of the Senate, something that requires the votes of the majority of the chamber. The Senate is currently dominated by the Movement to Socialism (MAS), Morales’s party.
Shortly after declaring herself interim president, Áñez entered the old Government Palace with a Bible in her hand, although no one administered an oath. Once there, she asked for a minute of silence for the four people who died during the protests unleashed after the October 20 elections and called on the Armed Forces to help pacify the country.
“Bolivia wants to live in peace,” she said amidst cheers by her supporters, and announced that she will call for clean, quick elections. The Constitution sets 90 days for it. Earlier in the afternoon, amidst tears, the senator told reporters that she would do it only “to give certainty to the country,” temporarily, and to call for new elections. ”I just want to provide a solution to the horrible crisis that we’re living through,” she said sobbing before the television cameras.
Morales Reacts from Mexico
From Mexico, where he arrived on Tuesday, former president Morales posted a message via Twitter in which he said that with the proclamation of Áñez, “the most artful and disastrous blow in history has been consummated.” Morales resigned from the presidency this Sunday amid the bloody protests and pressure from the Armed Forces, after a report by the Organization of American States (OAS) was published in which serious irregularities were denounced in the elections of the October 20, in which he was re-elected for a fourth term.
The ex-president landed in Mexico City after the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador granted him political asylum because he considered Morales’ life to be “at risk” in his country. In a press briefing at a Mexican airport, Morales reiterated that he was a victim of a coup d’etat, since he won the elections, overshadowed by allegations of fraud.
“I would like to say to you, we are very grateful to the president of Mexico, and the Bolivian government, who saved my life,” he added. He also promised that “As long as I have life, we continue in politics, the struggle continues, and we are sure that the people have every right to free themselves,” he told reporters in Mexico.