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President Who Had Fairy-Tale Rise Resigns

Fast-moving developments lead to Bolivian President Evo Morales' exit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 10, 2019 3:46 PM CST
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Bolivia's President Evo Morales looks on during a press conference in La Paz, Bolivia, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019.   (AP Photo/Juan Karita)
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(Newser) – Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation Sunday under mounting pressure from the military and the public after his re-election victory triggered weeks of fraud allegations and deadly protests. The decision came after a day of fast-moving developments, including an offer from Morales to hold a new election. But the crisis deepened dramatically when the country's military chief went on national television to call on him to step down. "I am sending my resignation letter to the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia," the 60-year-old socialist leader said in a statement. Morales' claim to have won a fourth term last month plunged the country into the biggest crisis of his nearly 14 years in power. The unrest left three people dead and over 100 injured in clashes between his supporters and opponents, reports the AP.

Earlier in the day Sunday, the Organization of American States said in a preliminary report that it had found a "heap of observed irregularities" in the Oct. 20 election and that a new vote should be held. Morales agreed to that. But within hours, military chief Gen. Williams Kaliman made it clear that would not be sufficient. Morales was the first president from Bolivia's indigenous population and presided over a commodities-fed economic boom in South America's poorest country. He paved roads, sent Bolivia's first satellite into space, and curbed inflation. But many who were once excited by his fairy-tale rise have grown wary of his reluctance to leave power. He ran for a fourth term after refusing to abide by the results of a referendum that upheld term limits for the president. He was able to run because Bolivia's constitutional court disallowed such limits. (The AP has more here.)


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