Mon, Oct 28, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Latin America: Morales rejects ‘negotiation’ after controversial win

AFP, LA PAZ, Bolivia

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Saturday said there would be no “political negotiation” following the country’s presidential election, whose disputed results have triggered violent protests across the country.

Morales was declared the outright winner of the vote on Sunday last week, after a sudden change in the ballot count extended his margin of victory over challenger former Bolivian president Carlos Mesa beyond the 10 percentage points needed to avoid a runoff.

Mesa, who is backed by a collective of centrist and right-wing parties, on Saturday said that he “rejected and ignored the closure of the national count of the general elections ... because it is the result of fraud and a breach of the popular will.”

Morales shot back later in the day.

“I want to tell you: Here there is no political negotiation. Here the constitution is respected, as is the party that won the last national election. I want the Bolivian right wing to know that,” the leftist leader said during a speech in Cochabamba in central Bolivia.

With all the votes counted, the Bolivian Supreme Electoral Tribunal gave Morales 47.08 percent and Mesa 36.5 percent.

The poll triggered a week of violent protests, as rival supporters clashed with security forces and each other in La Paz and elsewhere.

Mesa has called on his supporters to maintain street protests. Thousands of demonstrators blocked streets in major cities around the country on Saturday, erecting barricades and waving the red, yellow and green Bolivian flag.

The EU, US, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia have called for a runoff to restore trust and confidence in the electoral process.

Following the international outcry, Morales suggested that the Washington-based Organization of American States conduct an audit, to which its secretary-general Luis Almagro agreed.

“We have heard the position of the foreign ministries of #Colombia, #Argentina, #Brazil and the #US,” Morales tweeted. “I invite those and other countries to participate in the audit we have proposed.”

The organizaion had already expressed “surprise” and “concern” over the sudden shift in favor of Morales.

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