LA PAZ: Bolivia's president-elect Luis Arce told Reuters on Tuesday (Oct 20) that there was "no role" in his government for socialist party leader Evo Morales, who governed for almost 14 years before resigning under pressure last year and fleeing the country.
Arce swept to power in a Sunday ballot, with the official count – technically still underway – showing him with a majority of the vote, ushering the Andean country's socialists back into office just a year after Morales left.
From exile in Argentina, Morales remains the president of Arce's party, the Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, but Arce said any influence will be limited to that position.
"He will not have any role in our government," Arce told Reuters at the MAS headquarters in Bolivia's administrative capital La Paz.
"He can return to the country whenever he wants, because he's Bolivian … but in the government it's me who has to decide who forms a part of the administration and who does not."
A divisive former coca grower who is lauded by some for improving the fortunes of the poorest in one of South America's most impoverished countries, Morales has lived outside Bolivia since he fled last year following a vote shrouded by allegations of fraud. Morales disputes the allegations and says he was toppled in a right wing coup.
Morales also faces a raft of corruption allegations, which he has denied.
"Due process rights have not been respected in several cases against him (Morales)," Arce said. "I regret that politics have been judicialised, the right has judicialised politics."
TIME FOR AUSTERITY?
As finance minister under Morales, Arce helped preside over an economy that was growing faster than almost any in the region. But when he assumes Bolivia's presidency next month, he will be taking over a country facing a crippling recession.
"We will have to have austerity measures. There's no other option if we don't have enough income to cover our current expenditures," Arce said.
The 57-year-old said the economic model he helped implement under Morales worked and will work once again.
The UK-educated socialist, who ran on a platform pledging welfare spending, said cuts would not affect public investment, which he said will be a "priority" to reactivate growth.
He added he would issue bonds "if necessary," despite having criticised the conservatiRead More – Source
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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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