Bolivia: Morales resigns from President

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Bolivian President Evo Morales has resigned amid turmoil following his disputed re-election last month.

On Sunday, international monitors called for the election result to be annulled, saying they had found “clear manipulations” of the 20 October poll.

Morales has said earlier that he will call a new election after international monitors questioned the validity of his victory last month.

But politicians – and the army and police chiefs – had urged him to quit.

Some of his allies were attacked earlier this week, and said their homes had been set alight.

In a televised address, Mr Morales said he would resign as president, and urged protesters to “stop attacking the brothers and sisters, stop burning and attacking”. Morales’s announcement comes after weeks of anti-government protests over reported irregularities and fraud.

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Morales, who has been Bolivia’s president for nearly 14 years, announced he would also replace members of the country’s election board. The body has been heavily criticised after an unexplained 24-hour halt in the vote count on 20 October, which showed a shift in favour of Morales when it resumed.

The stoppage fed accusations of fraud and prompted an audit of the vote by the Organisation of American States.

The preliminary report said it had found “clear manipulations” of the voting system and said it could not verify a first-round victory for Morales.

“The manipulations to the computer system are of such magnitude that they must be deeply investigated by the Bolivian state to get to the bottom of it and assign responsibility in this serious case,” it said.

The report added that it was “statistically improbable that Morales had obtained the 10% difference to avoid a second round”. Morales had claimed victory before the final count with just enough votes to avoid a run-off, which some polls had indicated he could lose.

Via BBC / The Guardian 

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