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Bolivias President Resigns Amid Election-Fraud Allegations

LA PAZ, Bolivia—Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation on Nov. 10 under mounting pressure from the military and the public after his reelection victory triggered weeks of fraud allegations and deadly protests.

The decision came after a day of fast-moving developments, including an offer from Morales to hold a new election. But the crisis deepened dramatically when the countrys military chief went on national television to call on him to step down.

“I am sending my resignation letter to the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia,” the 60-year-old socialist leader said in a statement.

Morales claim to have won a fourth term in October plunged the country into the biggest crisis of his nearly 14 years in power. The unrest left three people dead and more than 100 injured in clashes between his supporters and opponents.

The Organization of American States said on Nov. 10 in a preliminary report that it had found a “heap of observed irregularities” in the Oct. 20 election and that a new vote should be held.

Morale agreed to that. But within hours, military chief Gen. Williams Kaliman made it clear that wouldnt be sufficient.

“After analyzing the situation of internal conflict, we ask the president to resign, allowing peace to be restored and stability to be maintained for the good of our Bolivia,” Kaliman said.

The leadership crisis escalated in the hours leading up to the resignation announcement. Two government ministers in charge of mines and hydrocarbons, the Chamber of Deputies president and three other pro-government legislators announced their resignations. Some said opposition supporters had threatened their families.

In addition, the head of Bolivias Supreme Electoral Tribunal stepped down after the OAS findings were released. Also, the attorney generals office said it will investigate judges on the tribunal for alleged fraud.

Morales in 2006 became the first president from Bolivias indigenous population, and he went on to preside over a commodities-fed economic boom in South Americas poorest country. The former leader of a coca growers union, he paved roads, sent Bolivias first satellite into space, and curbed inflation.

But many who were once excited by his fairy-tale rise have grown wary of his reluctance to leave power.

He ran for a fourth term after refusing to abide by the results of a referendum that upheld term limits for the president. He was able to run because Bolivias constitutional court disallowed such limits.

After the Oct. 20 vote, Morales declared himself the outright winner even before officiRead More – Source

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