Bolivia crisis: President Morales calls new ‘general elections’ as international audit questions previous results

Bolivian leader Evo Morales promised to hold a new election after the Organization of American States (OAS) mission failed to confirm his win last month.

“I made a decision… to call for a new general election that would allow people to democratically choose the authorities,” Morales announced on Sunday. The plebiscite is set to include a new round of voting for the president, the vice president, and the members of both chambers of Parliament. In his address, Morales also promised to completely replace the members of the nation’s election commission.

Earlier on Sunday, OAS issued a preliminary report, saying it is “statistically unlikely” that Morales secured a 10-percent lead, required to avoid a runoff vote. The auditors claimed to have found security flaws in voting software and traces of “clear manipulation” of the vote-tallying system.

Therefore, having been unable to validate the results, the mission recommended holding a new round of elections in the country. Morales requested the audit after doubt was cast on him winning a fourth consecutive term as leader of Bolivia on October 20.

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The opposition alleged vote-rigging and staged anti-government demonstrations across the country, while the allies of Morales rallied in his support. The protests quickly escalated into clashes with police and rioting in major cities. The president, meanwhile, denied the allegations of tampering with the vote, and denounced the violence on the streets as a coup attempt.

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