Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has resigned, shortly after the country’s military urged him to do so. The development leaves the country, which has endured weeks of political turmoil, in a situation of even greater uncertainty.
"I resign from my position as president so that (Carlos) Mesa and (Luis Fernando) Camacho do not continue to persecute socialist leaders," Morales said during a televised address naming the leaders of the opposition.
“My sin is being a union leader, indigenous. I can't understand how they can use the Bible to mistreat people. We are giving up so that my brothers do not continue to be kicked,” he said.
Shortly after the announcement his Vice-President Alvaro Marcelo García Linera also submitted his resignation.
Let's be clear: Evo Morales resigned as president of Bolivia to avoid further bloodshed, violence and destruction by a right-wing coup backed by powerful interests. Evo stepped down and put his country and people's well-being and safety before his own desire to remain in power.— Eva Golinger (@evagolinger) November 10, 2019
Earlier on Sunday Morales announced snap elections instead, giving in to the mounting pressure over the disputed results of the October 20 polls.
The decision followed the release of a preliminary report from the Organization of American States (OAS) mission on the elections, that was unable to validate them, saying it is “statistically unlikely” that Morales secured a 10-percent lead, required to avoid a runoff vote. Moreover, the auditors claimed they had found signs of “clear manipulation” and irregularities during the polls.
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Even though Morales announced the snap elections, Bolivian opposition called upon him to resign altogether. While he briefly resisted such calls, branding them “unconstitutional” and an “attempted coup,” the President eventually gave in after the military joined that chorus.
Shortly before Morales announced his resignation, Bolivian TV channels aired a footage of what they say was a presidential plane departing from El Alto International airport. It was reported that the plane took Morales to his political stronghold of Chimoré in the Department of Cochabamba, 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of La Paz, a city where he launched his reelection bid back in May.
Videos from La Paz, the site of many recent anti-Morales protests, show crowds cheering after the resignation announcement.
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