Bolivia: Interim President Appoints New Cabinet Amid Turmoil

  • Áñez included among the ministers some senators from her party, which opposes the majority - represented in parliament by Evo Morales's group.
  • The interim head of state also appointed a new military high command in one of her first acts after taking office.
  • The turmoil erupted in the South American country after Evo Morales was declared the winner of the October 20 presidential election.

The acting president of Bolivia, Jeanine Añez, appointed an emergency cabinet late on Wednesday, with only twelve ministers of the twenty possible. The interim head of state also appointed a new military high command in one of her first acts after taking office.

Jeanine Áñez is a Bolivian politician and lawyer who has served as a senator for Beni since 2010. In November 2019, following the resignation of Evo Morales, Áñez declared herself interim president.

Áñez included among the ministers some senators from her own party, Democrat Social Movement (MDS), which opposes the majority represented by former President Evo Morales’ Movement for Socialism (MAS). For the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Áñez appointed career diplomat Karen Longaric. Lawyer Jerjes Justiniano will be the minister of the Presidency. The Ministry of Government will be occupied by the senator of her party Arturo Murillo. The Defense will be led by Luis Fernando López.

The Ministry of Communications will be headed by journalist Roxana Lizárraga, the Environment will be headed by former parliamentarian María Elba Pinckert, and the Justice docket will be headed by minister Alvaro Coimbra. José Luis Parada is the new Minister of Economy. Former Senator Yerko Núñez will lead the Public Works folder. Samuel Ordóñez will be responsible for the Ministry of Rural Development, while Álvaro Guzmán will head Energy. The interim president left pending other dockets such as Hydrocarbons, Planning, Education, Health, Work and Culture.

Military High Command

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.

At a ceremony held at government headquarters in La Paz, where no official functions had been celebrated since August 2018, the new president also swore in Army General Carlos Orellana as commander of the Armed Forces. In addition to Orellana, General Iván Patricio Rioja took command of the Army, General Ciro Orlando Álvarez Armada was named as in charge of the Bolivian Air Force, and Rear Admiral Moisés Orlando Mejía Heredia is the new naval officer.

Although the Bolivian state is secular, a crucifix and two candles were placed alongside the Bolivian Constitution at the inauguration ceremony. At the time of his inauguration, the new commander of the Armed Forces, Carlos Orellana, called for “calm to all the population of Bolivia.”

The turmoil erupted in the South American country after Evo Morales was declared the winner of the October 20 presidential election, thus securing his controversial fourth term in office. According to the country’s Elections Commission, he won with 47.1 percent of the vote, while Carlos Mesa attained 36.5 percent of the vote. The opposition accused Morales and his government of electoral fraud and refused to recognize the outcome.

In the capital, La Paz, protesters began surrounding local police stations in an effort to get the officers there also to support their cause, while the same thing happened in the city of Trinidad and other parts of the country. It prompted several police departments and parts of the country’s army to join the protesters’ in demand for Morales to resign from his post, which he eventually did before he left the country for asylum in Mexico.

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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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