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LATIN AMERICA | 31-12-2019 15:36

Evo Morales: MAS will choose candidate for next Bolivian election on January 19

Former Bolivia president says that the presidential candidate for his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party in next year's elections will be named January 19.

Former Bolivia president Evo Morales says that the presidential candidate for his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party in next year's elections will be named January 19.

Morales, who resigned the presidency in October after a disputed election result, announced the decision at a press conference in Buenos Aires, where he has sought asylum. He said that his party's leaders from the country's nine regions would meet to decide their presidential candidate in Argentina.

He has previously said MAS leaders would hold a summit at an as-yet unidentified location on the Argentine-Bolivian border to make the decision.

The 60-year-old, who spent almost 14 years in power, resigned the presidency after two weeks of protest following election results that were criticised as fraudulent by the opposition. The Organisation of American States later reported that it had identified "irregularities" in the results and the Police and Armed Forces withdrew their support for the indigenous leader.

Conservative leader Jeanine Añez subsequently took office as the nation's interim leader and said Bolivia would hold new elections, though no date has yet been since. She has said Morales will be banned from running.

Morales, who is now the subject of an arrest warrant for alleged "sedition" and terrorism-related offences, has repeatedly said he was the victim of a Washington-backed coup d'état. 

Recently, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Bolivia announced that "for logistical reasons" there will be no registration of new overseas voters for the upcoming elections. That means, in essence, that Morales would have to go to Bolivia to vote. He has yet to confirm whether he will do so or not.

Speaking Sunday, Morales said that his party faced the task of "reversing the coup with elections." He said he was "optimistic" his party would win the election and said he would present an assessment of his 14 years in government on January 22 in Buenos Aires.

Among the likely presidential candidates in the next Bolivian election are MAS leaders Andronico Rodríguez (seen as Morales' political heir), former foreign ministers Diego Pary and David Choquehuanca and ex-economy minister Luis Arce. Likely opponents include ex-president Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho and Marco Antonio Pumari, both seen as figures who were influential in pushing for Morales' resignation.

– TIMES/AFP

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