Bolivia’s Morales to call fresh election after OAS audit

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Evo Morales
President Evo Morales denies accusations of wrongdoing after weeks of protests

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has said he will call a new election after international monitors questioned the validity of his victory last month.

The Organization of American States (OAS), which monitored the elections, called for the result to be annulled.

Mr Morales’s announcement comes after weeks of anti-government protests over reported irregularities and fraud.

Opposition leader Carlos Mesa said Mr Morales and his vice-president should not run in the new poll.

Nor should they preside over the electoral process, he said.

“If you have an iota of patriotism, you should step aside,” Mr Mesa said at a news conference.

What did Morales say?

The president, who was first elected in 2006, has denied any wrongdoing and ignored calls to resign.

“The candidacies must be secondary; what comes first is to pacify Bolivia,” he told a local radio station.

In his announcement on Sunday, he also said the country’s electoral body would be overhauled before the poll, with parliament choosing its members.

Mr Morales, who is Bolivia’s first indigenous president, told reporters that he had made the decision “to reduce all tension”.

What did the OAS say?

In its preliminary report on Saturday, the OAS said it had found “clear manipulations” of Bolivia’s voting system and it could not verify the result of the 20 October race.

Protesters in La Paz, Bolivia, on Saturday 9 November
Image captionProtesters marched in La Paz on Saturday with a sign reading: “Resistance against the dictatorship”

During the audit, it said it found physical records with alterations and forged signatures, and evidence of wide-scale data manipulation.

The international body concluded it was unlikely that Mr Morales had won by the 10% margin required for a victory. It recommended that a new electoral commission be set up before a fresh election could take place.

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