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LATIN AMERICA | 27-01-2020 12:13

Bolivia's interim leader Áñez confirms candidacy in election

Right-wing politician who took over for Evo Morales will likely face MAS candidate Luis Arce Catacora, who served as ex-economy minister under the exiled former leader.

Bolivian interim President Jeanine Áñez, who replaced former leader Evo Morales when he left the country, on Friday announced her candidacy in the country's May 3 presidential election.

When she took office on November 12, Áñez said she her job as interim president would be convoking new elections to replace Morales, though she didn't explicitly rule out running in those elections.

She has requested the resignation of her ministers in order to face new a “new stage of democratic transition.”

The presidential office said in a statement she would seek to fill the positions as fast as possible to maintain continuity ahead of the elections. She will likely face Luis Arce of the Movement For Socialism (MAS) party, who was hand-picked by former president and currently-exiled leftist leader Evo Morales.

“I have made the decision to present myself as a candidate,” she said. “Taking part in these elections wasn't in my plans, but in recent weeks we were prepared to build a consensus and we haven't achieved one.”

The 52-year-old lawyer postulated her candidacy at an event in which Áñez's Democratic Unity party announced an alliance with the party of La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla.

It was not confirmed that Revilla would be Áñez's running-mate, but the mayor said: “My party is going to give her all its support. If she takes a step forward in her candidacy, it will be an honour to accompany her."

MAS candidate

Last Sunday, Morales announced that ex-economy minister Luis Arce Catacora would be his party's presidential candidate in Bolivia's upcoming presidential election.

Speaking from self-exile in Argentina, Morales said the vice presidential candidate for his Movement For Socialism party would be David Choquehuanca, a former foreign secretary and like Morales a member of Bolivia's Aymara indigenous group.

Morales, who governed Bolivia for nearly 14 years, resigned the presidency in November when the Police and Army withdrew support after several weeks of demonstrations that erupted over allegations of fraud in the October 20 presidential election that Morales claimed to have won. The Organisation of American States said its audit found serious irregularities in the vote count.

An interim government took over after Morales left the country and annulled the October election, scheduled new national elections for May.

“The dispersion of the votes and the presentation of candidacies that did not unite Bolivians led me to make this decision,” Áñez said.

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