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LATIN AMERICA | 17-12-2019 16:47

With eye on Bolivia vote, Evo Morales sets up Argentina base

Bolivian said Tuesday in Buenos Aires that he would campaign for the presidential candidate of his party in elections expected within the next several months, though a date has not been set.

Evo Morales is stepping up his efforts to shape Bolivian politics after his resignation from the presidency, even though he could face prosecution if he returns to Bolivia from exile.

Morales said Tuesday in Buenos Aires, where he is based, that he would campaign for the presidential candidate of his party in elections expected within the next several months, though a date has not been set.

The candidate from Morales' Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party is yet to be chosen, and the former president cannot run in the new elections. 

Bolivia's first indigenous president, prompted by the military and nationwide protests, resigned on November 10. Morales left for political asylum in Mexico, saying he was the victim of a coup d'état. 

Critics of the long-ruling leader had accused him of using fraud to win a fourth straight term in office in the October 20 vote. An audit by the Organization of American States (OAS) later backed up the allegations, saying it found evidence of vote-rigging.

He arrived in Argentina on December 12 along with several members of his former government. It now seems as though he is planning to try to influence events in neighbouring Bolivia. 

Morales, who was the country's first indigenous president, retains a strong hold over his MAS party. He said there are many leaders in the party and that the idea is to select a unifying candidate to overcome splits that have emerged since his resignation.

Morales, a socialist, has an ally in the government of President Alberto Fernández, who was elected on 27 October and took office two days before the former president arrived in the country. 

Bolivia's interim government, led by President Jeanine Añez, is concerned that Morales could use Buenos Aires as a campaign headquarters and might plot his return home. 

Añez has said that Morales could face "sedition and terrorism" charges for allegedly fomenting violent protests by his supporters after he left the country. 

"If he has to come, he knows that he has pending processes with the law," she said. 

– AP

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