Bolivian Opposition Senator Jeanine Anez on Tuesday declared herself interim president of Bolivia in congress despite a lack of a quorum to appoint her in a legislative session that was boycotted by legislators from former President Evo Morales’ left-wing party.
Lawmakers from Morales’ party boycotted the session, meaning there was no quorum for the appointment, the BBC reported.
It was unclear if the move would quell unrest in the highland capital, La Paz, and other cities unleashed by Morales’ disputed bid for a fourth term.
Morales condemned the announcement, describing Anez as “a coup-mongering right-wing senator”.
The former deputy Senate leader assumed the position following a series of resignations.
While lawmakers from Morales’ Movement for Socialism party were not present at the legislative session, Anez declared herself as interim leader.
Taking to Twitter, Morales condemned the “sneakiest, most nefarious coup in history”.
The result was called into question by the Organization of American States, a regional body, which had found “clear manipulation” and called for the result to be annulled.
In response, Morales agreed to hold fresh elections. But his main rival, Carlos Mesa – who came second in the vote – said Morales should not stand in any new vote.
Announcing his resignation, Morales said he had taken the decision in order to stop fellow socialist leaders from being “harassed, persecuted and threatened”. He also called his removal a “coup”.
On Sunday, Morales had resigned from the presidential post, saying, “I resign my post as president” and right after a day of his resignation, he left for Mexico.
Earlier on Sunday, violence had continued as a caravan of buses taking opposition supporters to La Paz was attacked, leaving three people injured, including one by gunfire. Morales lashed out against the OAS mission, accusing it of making a “political decision” instead of a technical one. “Some OAS technicians are at the service of … power groups.”
Morales was declared the winner of the October 20 presidential election with a narrow margin, giving him a controversial fourth term, having first taken power in 2006.
Morales insisted his government was leaving behind “many social triumphs.” The World Bank has credited his government for a decrease in the poverty rate from 45 per cent of the population in 2010 to 35 per cent in 2018. On social media, Bolivians speculated that Morales might leave the country, perhaps going to Argentina, which just elected a centre-left government.