On November 10th, Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned, following an international audit that discovered that elections on October 20th couldn’t be validated. In the elections, Morales secured a slight victory over his rival, former President and Vice-President Carlos Mesa.
Both former President and Vice-President Carlos Mesa (and Morales’ main rival in the elections) and the OAS agreed to allow Morales to complete his current term, which was due to end on January 22nd, 2020, to ensure an orderly transition.
A preliminary report by the Organization of American States (OAS) released on the day Morales resigned said that there were “serious irregularities” and that the elections couldn’t be validated.
“The first round of the elections held on October 20 must be annulled and the electoral process must begin again, with the first round taking place as soon as there are new conditions that give new guarantees for it to take place, including a newly composed electoral body,” the OAS said in its statement.
The preliminary report stated that there had been manipulations, as well as the statistical unlikeliness of Morales’ victory.
“The manipulations to the computer system are of such magnitude that they must be deeply investigated by the Bolivian state to get to the bottom of and assign responsibility in this serious case,” the organization’s report said.
The OAS added it was not statistically likely that Morales had secured the 10%-point margin of victory needed to win outright and recommended Bolivia use new electoral authorities for any new vote.
“In the following hours, in agreement with all political forces, we will establish the steps for this to take place,” he said.
Morales said he was stepping down “for the good of the country,” which has been seeing protests in the days following the October 20th election.
Three people have died and over 100 were injured.
Morales, previously agreed to respect the OAS findings as binding, announced new elections and a new electoral commission. Shortly after, Mesa embraced new elections but insisted that neither Morales nor his Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera should be allowed to run.
Hemos estado en el Gobierno 13 años, nueve meses y 18 días gracias a la unidad y voluntad del pueblo Nos acusan de dictadura los que perdieron ante nosotros en tantas elecciones. Hoy Bolivia es una Patria libre, una Bolivia con inclusión, dignidad, soberanía y fortaleza económica
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 10, 2019
“We have been in the government for 13 years, nine months and 18 days thanks to the unity and the will of the people. We are accused of dictatorship by those who lost to us in so many elections. Today Bolivia is a free country, a Bolivia with inclusion, dignity, sovereignty and economic strength.”
He won his first election with a campaign that promised a government focused on the needs of the country’s poor. But he was also accused of using the system to concentrate power. As the Constitutional court ruled to allow him to run for a third term, back in 2013.
Immediately after Morales resigned, people took to the streets to celebrate, amid the political vacuum that is created by his departure.
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