Bolivian senator becomes interim president

Published: 13 Nov 2019 | Updated: 13 Nov 2019   

Online Desk

Bolivian opposition senator Jeanine Áñez has declared herself interim president of the South American country following Evo Morales' resignation.

Áñez said she was next in line under the constitution and vowed to hold elections soon.

Her appointment was endorsed by Bolivia's Constitutional Court.

Lawmakers from Morales' party boycotted the session, and the former president branded Áñez "a coup-mongering right-wing senator".

Morales has fled to Mexico, saying he asked for asylum there because his life was in danger.

He resigned on Sunday after weeks of protests over a disputed presidential election result. He has said he had been forced to stand down but had done so willingly "so there would be no more bloodshed".

Áñez took temporary control of the Senate on Tuesday, putting her next in line for the presidency.

The former deputy Senate leader assumed the position following a series of resignations.

The parliamentary session to appoint her was boycotted by lawmakers from Morales' leftist Movement for Socialism party, who said it was illegitimate.

"Before the definitive absence of the president and vice president... as the president of the Chamber of Senators, I immediately assume the presidency as foreseen in the constitutional order," Áñez said to applause from opposition lawmakers.

Bolivia's highest constitutional court backed her assumption of power.

Writing on Twitter from Mexico, Morales condemned the "sneakiest, most nefarious coup in history".

Morales, a former coca farmer, was first elected in 2006, the country's first leader from the indigenous community.

He won plaudits for fighting poverty and improving Bolivia's economy but drew controversy by defying constitutional limits to run for a fourth term in October's election.

Pressure had been growing on him since his narrow victory in last month's vote.

The result was called into question by the Organization of American States, a regional body, which had found "clear manipulation" and called for the result to be annulled.

In response, Morales agreed to hold fresh elections. But his main rival, Carlos Mesa - who came second in the vote - said Morales should not stand in any new vote.

The chief of the armed forces, Gen Williams Kaliman, then urged Morales to step down in the interests of peace and stability.

Announcing his resignation, Morales said he had taken the decision in order to stop fellow socialist leaders from being "harassed, persecuted and threatened".


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