LA PAZ/SANTA CRUZ – Protests over a disputed presidential election convulsed Bolivia on Tuesday as police fired tear fuel within the capital and the sitting president and opposition candidate wrestled over an audit of the outcomes.
The transient suspension of publication of the outcomes from an digital rely of the Oct. 20 presidential election has triggered protests and strikes which have closed roads, faculties and companies across the nation for greater than every week.
President Evo Morales, a leftist searching for a fourth time period, was ultimately declared the winner, prompting accusations of fraud from opposition candidate Carlos Mesa and his supporters.
In La Paz, opposition protesters mounted highway barricades of rope, picket boards and sheets of steel. Rows of helmet-clad riot police lined some streets, separating Morales’ supporters from protesters against the president.
Tear fuel was utilized in no less than two areas to disperse protesters.
Morales, who has been in workplace practically 14 years and is Latin America’s longest-serving chief, has stated the Group of American States (OAS) will audit the election and that he’ll go to a second spherical if fraud is discovered.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and Morales, 60, each deny any irregularities.
“We, in the most transparent and secure way, confident in the sovereignty of the people, have invited an international audit,” Vice President Alvaro Garcia instructed reporters early on
“We have called on the OAS and brother countries so they can clear up any doubt with respect to the malicious campaign of the losing candidate, who refuses to accept the decision of the Bolivian people,” Garcia stated.
“We want to ask Carlos Mesa, the losing candidate, to join the audit,” he added. “We await a speedy and affirmative response.”
With 84% of the votes counted on Oct. 20, polling confirmed Morales was seemingly headed to a runoff with Mesa. Nonetheless, when reporting resumed after practically 24 hours, it confirmed Morales had pulled off a razor-thin victory.
The ultimate, legally binding vote tally gave him 47.08% of votes to Mesa’s 36.51%, lower than a share level greater than the 10-point margin wanted to keep away from a runoff.
Mesa instructed journalists within the industrial metropolis of Santa Cruz he wished assurances from the federal government that the outcomes of any recount shall be binding.
“Are they prepared to recognize the TSE’s final results?”
Mesa requested. “Is the government prepared to back down?”
“We will not accept a solution that mocks popular will. We will not accept a solution that turns its back on the Oct. 20 vote and we will not turn our backs on people who are fighting democratically and peacefully in the streets,” he stated.
Protesters within the streets lobbed accusations of fraud at Morales.
“The audit doesn’t help now,” stated Pamela Velez, 37, as police deployed fuel at a barricade within the central a part of town. “(The Morales government) has had a week to fix up (the vote).”
Mesa, a former president, instructed Reuters in an interview on Monday that strikers wouldn’t settle for negotiations to finish protests.
5 protesters had been injured by gunshots on Monday in Santa Cruz. Police have stated they’re investigating the incident.