After protests: Bolivia's President Morales resigns


Bolivia's President Morales has announced his resignation. He had sent a letter of resignation to the parliament, said the left head of state in a television speech. Previously, Morales had announced a new election.

After weeks of protests against him Bolivia's President Evo Morales has announced his resignation. He had sent a letter of resignation to the parliament, said the left head of state in a television speech.

Previously, the military leadership had opposed the president: Army Chief William Kaliman called Morales to resign. This should enable a "pacification" of the country shaken by mass protests and the "preservation of stability," he told journalists. The general called on Bolivians to refrain from violence. Individual police units had already denied allegiance to the ailing head of state. The national police chief Vladimir Yuri Calderón now also openly demanded the resignation of Morales.

Under the pressure of the street protests and the opposition, Morales had promised new elections, but left it open whether he would like to start again. The opposition rejected this as inadequate and called for him to resign.

After declaring his resignation, Mexico offered asylum to the politician. His country has already taken on 20 members of the local government and parliament in its representation in the Bolivian La Paz, said the Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. This possibility is also open to Morales.

"Serious irregularities"

Most recently, the Organization of American States (OAS) had demanded that the election be declared invalid because of irregularities. Morales' challenger in the election, Carlos Mesa, called for the head of state to resign if he "still has a spark of patriotism." Also one of the leaders of the protest movement, Luis Fernando Camacho, demanded Morales' resignation.

The police in Bolivia meanwhile arrested dozens of members of the electoral tribunal, which is said to be responsible for irregularities in the presidential election. The representatives of the electoral tribunal were arrested on suspicion of forgery and other offenses related to elections, it said.

Morales has been in power since 2006, serving for a fourth term. The presidential election on 20 October was highly controversial and was not recognized by the opposition. She talked about electoral fraud. Citizens' committees, which had boosted the protest movement, demanded that both Morales and Mesa should not stand in new elections.

Several leftist governments in South America criticized developments in Bolivia. The presidents of the socialist countries Venerzuela and Cuba spoke of a "coup". Alberto Fernández, who has just been elected next president of Argentina, also wrote that his country must categorically reject any kind of coup. Similarly, the government expressed itself in Mexico.

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