Bolivia moves towards new elections after imposing an arrest warrant on Evo Morales

Bolivia moves towards new elections after imposing an arrest warrant on Evo Morales
The interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Añez. (Reuters)

The Bolivian parliament has elected the members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal that will be in charge of organizing the new general elections, after the annulment of the failed October

The Bolivian parliament has elected the six members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal who complete the full room that will be responsible for organizing the new general elections, after the annulment of the failed last October. The plenary of the Legislative Assembly chose the new members of the electoral body in a session that began on Wednesday night, two and a half hours late, and that lasted until this morning.

“The country expected the Legislative Assembly to choose people who return their confidence in the Electoral Tribunal and we have done so,” said the president of Parliament, Senator Eva Copa, of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), who has a majority parliamentary.

Bolivian regulations empower the Legislature to elect six full members and six alternates for a six-year term, with no possibility of reelection. Among the holders in the full room, it must be guaranteed that at least two are of indigenous or peasant origin and three are women.

Speaking to the media, Senator Oscar Ortiz, of the opposition Democratic Unit (DU), stressed that the “agreement” between the three political forces with a presence in Parliament allowed electing a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal “that will give to citizenship credibility and reliability”. According to Ortiz, in the new electoral body, “there are people who have independence, impartiality, suitability, the probity to guarantee the country a path to clean elections.”

Elections from January

The MAS, UD and the Christian Democratic Party agreed on Wednesday that the call for new elections, which corresponds to the electoral body, can be delayed at the beginning of next January. Bolivia expects new elections in early 2020 after the cancellation of those of October 20, in which the former president Evo Morales was declared the winner for a fourth consecutive term.

Those elections were annulled in the middle of allegations of fraud in favour of Morales, who on November 10 announced his resignation denouncing a coup d’etat to overthrow him and left the country.

The previous electoral body that managed these elections ended up being prosecuted, with its members in preventive detention, accused of electoral crimes related to that alleged fraud.

The hand of the OAS

The Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, said Thursday that Evo Morales’s departure from the Presidency of Bolivia was “the only possible” and defended the agency’s management in crises in the region.

“When a fraud of that magnitude is discovered, the only option left to the person responsible for that fraud, to the beneficiary of that fraud, is to leave; he had no other choice,” Almagro said in reference to Morales, at a press conference in Washington, OAS headquarters.

Evo, in Argentina

From Argentina, where he has taken refuge, Bolivia’s ex-president Evo Morales has affirmed that the arrest warrant issued against him by the Bolivian Prosecutor’s Office “does not proceed legally” because he is still “president” of the country since the legislative assembly “did not accept nor rejected” his resignation.

“The arrest warrant is unfair, illegal and unconstitutional because it does not proceed legally. I am still president and that is why the procedures of Bolivian law must be complied with,” he said at a press conference in Buenos Aires. He argued that “the legislative assembly plurinational did not accept or reject “the resignation that he upheld on November 10, so “according to the Constitution” remains president until January 22.

The interim Minister of Government (Interior), Arturo Murillo, shared on Twitter a photo of the document in which he is ordered to apprehend Morales and transfer him to the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor to give his informative statement.

The interim Government of Jeanine Áñez presented last November against him a complaint in the prosecutor’s office in La Paz for crimes such as terrorism, accusing him of inciting violence against the provisional Executive from his asylum in Mexico, a country he came first as Asylum after leaving Bolivia on November 11.

The complaint is based on evidence such as a video in which a voice attributed to Morales is heard, but whose authenticity has not been demonstrated by independent sources.