The Latest: Argentina urges Bolivians to talk, keep peace

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The latest on the political crisis in Bolivia (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

Argentina is urging all political and social actors in Bolivia to keep the peace and engage in dialogue following weeks of unrest over a disputed election that led Bolivian President Evo Morales to resign Sunday.

In a statement, Argentina’s government says calm is needed for Bolivians to navigate the transition to new elections. In its words: “It is imperative that all Bolivian political forces and leaders act at this delicate time with responsibility and restraint.”

The Argentine statement also says Bolivia should work with its regional neighbors as well as impartial international groups and observers to ensure a transparent election.

Morales resigned soon after the release of an Organization of American States audit that found irregularities in Oct. 20 presidential election.


9 p.m.

The U.S. State Department says American officials are monitoring events in Bolivia following the surprise resignation of President Evo Morales and several other top officials after weeks of sometimes violent protests over the disputed presidential election.

Morales stepped down hours after the Organization of American States released report outlining irregularities in the Oct. 20 election.

In a statement Sunday night, the department says: “We urge the OAS to send a mission to Bolivia to oversee the new electoral process and to ensure that the new Electoral Tribunal is truly independent and reflects a broad swath of Bolivian society. The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections.”

The statement also urges Bolivians to refrain from further violence. Clashes between Morales’ supporters and opponents have left three dead and over 100 injured.


8:50 p.m.

Mexico’s foreign minister says 20 members of Bolivia’s executive and legislative branches are at the official Mexican residence in the capital seeking asylum following Sunday’s resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Marcelo Ebrard also says on Twitter that Mexico would offer asylum to Morales if should ask for it. There is no indication that Morales has done that.

Also via Twitter, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he recognizes the “responsible attitude of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who preferred to resign rather than expose his people to violence.”


8:20 p.m.

Bolivian police say they have detained the former president and vice president of the Supreme Electoral Court following release of an Organization of American States audit that found irregularities in Oct. 20 presidential election.

The announcement Sunday came hours after President Evo Morales announced his resignation under growing pressure amid allegations of fraud in the vote count.

Police commander Yuri Calderón says 36 other officials of the electoral body also have been detained on suspicion of falsification and other electoral crimes. Calderón says former court president Maria Eugenia Choque was apprehended while dressed to look like a man.

The attorney general’s office earlier announced that it was opening an investigation into allegations raised by the OAS report.


7:30 p.m.

Mexico’s foreign secretary is criticizing the Bolivian military for getting involved in events that preceded Sunday’s resignation by Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Marcelo Ebrard says that “there is a military operation going on, and we reject it.”

Morales announced his resignation Sunday soon after Bolivia’s military commander called on him to resign amid unrest over allegations of fraud in the country’s Oct. 20 presidential election.

Going on Twitter, Ebrard said: “Mexico will maintain its position of respect for democracy and institutions. Coup no.”


5:15 p.m.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced his resignation, seeking to calm the country after weeks of unrest over a disputed election that he had claimed to win.

He made the move Sunday hours after the Organization of American States called for a new a presidential election, citing irregularities in the Oct. 20 vote.


4:45 p.m.

The head of Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal has resigned after an audit of the Oct. 20 presidential election concluded there were irregularities in the vote.

The tribunal president, María Eugenia Choque, announced her resignation on Sunday.

A preliminary report by the Organization of American States found a “heap of observed irregularities” in the presidential contest and said a new vote should be held.

The attorney general’s office in Bolivia then said it would investigate the judges on the electoral tribunal.


4 p.m.

Bolivia’s military chief says that President Evo Morales should resign so that stability can be restored after weeks of protests over his disputed election.

Speaking on national television, Gen. Williams Kaliman also appealed to Bolivians to desist from violence.

He stepped in after Morales agreed earlier in the day to hold a new election.

Morales’ claim to have won a fourth term last month has triggered fraud allegations, deadly protests and a split among security forces.

Categories: International News