In Brief

Bolivia: Jeanine Anez declares herself interim president

Senator vows to ‘pacify the country’ but Morales dismisses her move

Bolivian senator Jeanine Anez has declared herself the country’s interim president after the resignation of Evo Morales.

The 52-year-old vowed to “take the measures necessary to pacify the country,” as she swore on a Bible to loud cheers and applause in the Senate.

“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,” she said.

Lawmakers from Morales’ party boycotted the legislative session, declaring it illegal. Morales condemned the announcement, describing Anez as “a coup-mongering right-wing senator” but Anez insisted she was next in line under the constitution. Her move is expected to pave the way for fresh elections in the country.

The former president Morales has fled to Mexico, saying his life was in danger. The Guardian reports that a member of the army had showed Morales messages putting a $50,000 price on his head.

He resigned on Sunday after weeks of turmoil over a disputed election result, claiming he was forced to stand down but had done so willingly “so there would be no more bloodshed”.

When he arrived in Mexico, the country’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, greeted Morales with a handshake, a hug and a pat on the cheek.

There, Morales defended his time in government and said that if he were guilty any crime, it was to be indigenous and “anti-imperalist”. In a tweet, he called Anez's assumption of the presidency “the most crafty and disastrous coup in history”.

CNN reports that Bolivia has been “rocked” by violent protests since the country held elections on 20 October. Opposition parties accused electoral officials of manipulating the results of that contest in favor of Morales, who had been president for nearly 14 years. 

The politician was considered the last surviving figure from the Latin American ‘pink tide’ that brought leftwingers to power across the region around the turn of the 21st century.

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