LA PAZ (Reuters) – Bolivian President Evo Morales on Saturday vowed to carry a run-off election if an audit of a vote depend that handed him an outright win finds proof of fraud, as he sought to calm a sixth day of protests and worldwide criticism over his disputed re-election to a fourth consecutive time period.
FILE PHOTO: Bolivia’s President Evo Morales speaks throughout a information convention on the presidential palace La Casa Grande del Pueblo in La Paz, Bolivia, October 24, 2019. REUTERS/David Mercado
Morales railed in opposition to the opposition in a regional stronghold of assist for his leftist authorities. He stated his rivals had been “envious” of his achievements after 14 years in workplace and accused them, with out offering proof, of attempting to fire up unrest to attempt to unseat him illegally.
However he appeared apprehensive about his fame overseas as worldwide election observers and international governments forged doubt on the legitimacy of his win.
To date, solely Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico have despatched him their congratulations, whereas the European Union and a number of the area’s largest international locations – the US, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia – have pushed him to carry a run-off vote with chief rival Carlos Mesa to revive credibility to Sunday’s election, the tightest since 2002.
“I invite the international minister of Argentina, the international minister of Brazil, the international minister of Colombia plus the US to return – let’s do an audit vote by vote,” Morales stated in a speech earlier than navy brass within the coca-growing area of Cochabamba.
“I’ll accompany (the audit). If there’s fraud the following day we’ll convene a second-round” election, Morales added in feedback broadcast on state TV.
Protesters blocked roads in elements of the highland capital of La Paz on Saturday for a second day. An indefinite strike in opposition to his authorities continued within the metropolis of Santa Cruz, an agricultural and industrial heart the place opposition to him has lengthy been robust.
Morales is already Latin America’s longest-serving president. He ran for a fourth time period this yr in defiance of time period limits and a nationwide referendum that rejected lifting them, after a court docket ruling gave him a inexperienced mild.
The nation’s embattled electoral board, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), has denied prices of electoral fraud lodged by the opposition. The accusations had been fueled when the board abruptly halted publication of a fast vote depend that confirmed Morales headed to a second-round vote with Mesa.
When the fast depend resumed, it confirmed Morales’ prediction on Sunday that he would safe the 10-point over Mesa in a crowded race of 9 candidates, sufficient to keep away from a riskier run-off race with the opposition extra united behind Mesa.
The ultimate vote depend by the TSE confirmed Morales had 47.08% of votes to Mesa’s 36.51%. The TSE and Morales have stated they welcome an audit by the regional group the Group of American States (OAS), however haven’t specified if they may settle for its situation for its conclusions to be legally binding.
Brazil, landlocked Bolivia’s largest commerce accomplice, has gone the farthest in turning up strain on Morales, warning it could not acknowledge the outcomes till the OAS finishes an audit of the vote depend.
Reporting By Daniel Ramos and Mitra Taj; Modifying by Chizu Nomiyama