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LATIN AMERICA | 23-12-2019 00:06

Evo Morales summons party leaders to BA for talks on border event

Exiled former Bolivian president says his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party will hold event on border with Bolivia – most likely in Salta Province – to decide candidates for next election.

Evo Morales has announced he will hold a event on the border of Argentina and Bolivia at an undefined time in the future, at which the presidential candidate for his Movement for Socialsm (MAS) party in his country's next election will be selected.

The former Bolivian leader said Saturday he had summoned party leaders to Buenos Aires for a meeting to plan the event.

"This morning I decided to summon the leaders of the MAS. Twenty-nine leaders from the nine departments will come to Buenos Aires" on December 29, Morales told a local radio station, Radio La Red.

He said his "colleagues from the Central De Trabajadores de Argentina" (CTA) union had recommended a site on the border. 

The ex-Bolivia leader said that they would discuss plans for a MAS event at the border between Argentina and Bolivia, where party members would choose who will run in the next elections in Bolivia.

As for potential candidates, Morales said "there are many," mentioning names such as former foreign ministers Diego Pary and David Choquehuanca,former economy minister Luis Arce and rising star Andrónico Rodríguez.

Refugee

The former Bolivian president is currently living in exile in Buenos Aires as a refugee. He resigned and fled Bolivia last month after civil unrest broke out following his re-election in a controversial October 20 poll that's been subject to accusations of fraud and vote-rigging.

The former union claims he was the victim of a coup d’état and denounced the arrest order as “illegal, unfair and unconstitutional.” 

The government of right-wing interim President Jeanine Áñez has repeatedly said it will hold new elections, but no date has yet been set. Morales is barred from running in the next elections, but  he has vowed to back whoever stands for his party.

Morales did not specify where the MAS meeting would take place, other than to say it would be on the border between Argentina and Bolivia. Reports in the local press over the weekend suggested potential locations include the cities of Orán or Salvador Mazza, in Salta Province, areas which have large Bolivian communities.

"The Argentine government will accompany me to ensure security and we estimate that some 1,000 leaders will attend," Morales told Radio La Red.

'Irregularities'

Morales, who spent almost 14 years in power, resigned on November 10 after winning the October 20 election. As civil unrest grew and the Organization of American States (OAS) reported it had found "irregularities" in its inspection of the results, the Armed Forces and Police withdrew their support, leaving him isolated.

The indigenous leader has denied allegations of fraud. In the interview, he stressed that the OAS "talks about irregularities, not electoral fraud."

Morales also declared that opposition to his political project in Bolivia was based on "hatred against the indigenous community," claiming that his rivals tried to "hide" those feelings.

Last week, Bolivia's chief prosecutor issued a warrant for Morales' arrest, based on allegations of "sedition" and "terrorism."

"When I arrived in Argentina, I arrived sad and disappointed after suffering the coup in my country," Morales told Radio La Red.

Relations between the new governments in Bolivia and Argentina are far from good, especially given President Alberto Fernández's decision to welcome Morales to Buenos Aires and his refusal to recognise Añez's interim government.

Since arrivingl in Argentina, Morales has held meetings with MAS leaders, President Fernández and held several press conferences.

– TIMES/AFP/NA

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