Bolivian president Evo Morales called for new elections Sunday after weeks of protests around “irregularities” in last month’s elections.
The president announced in a televised address Sunday that he would also be replacing the country’s electoral body.
His announcement follows weeks of protests after the October 20 election which he narrowly won. The Organization of American States conducted an audit of the elections and found irregularities in nearly every area which it reviewed.
The United States welcomed the decision Sunday.
“Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people’s will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted.
Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people’s will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 10, 2019
Morales, who is serving his fourth term as president, had previously called the protests around his election a coup.
The long-time president did not indicate whether he would once again be running in the new elections. Despite Sunday’s announcement, opposition leaders have continued to call for him to step down.
Latin America’s longest-serving leader went into the election needing a 10 percentage-point lead to avoid a runoff and secure his fourth term in office.
Partial results released after the election had predicted Morales would face a December runoff election against his main rival, former President Carlos Mesa.
Then, less than 24 hours later, the electoral commission released new numbers that showed with 95% of votes counted, Morales was just a 0.7 percentage point short of the 10 percentage-point mark.
The announcement prompted opposition complaints of fraud, and triggered violent protests in several cities.
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