The Organization of American States recommended on Sunday that Bolivia hold a new election after it identified serious irregularities in the voting system in a report that called into question the victory of President Evo Morales.
The preliminary OAS report, following an audit of the Oct. 20 vote, said that the international body could not verify the result after it found clear manipulations.
The manipulations to the computer system are of such magnitude that they must be deeply investigated by the Bolivian State to get to the bottom of and assign responsibility in this serious case, the report said.
The OAS added that it was not statistically likely that Morales had secured the 10 percentage point margin of victory needed to win outright and recommended Bolivia use new electoral authorities for any new vote.
Morales was declared the winner of the October election with a lead of just over 10 points over his rival Carlos Mesa, giving him an outright win. But there have been widespread protests since against the result after a near 24-hour halt in the count.
Morales, who came to power in 2006 as Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, had defended his election win and has said he would adhere to the findings of the OAS audit. On Sunday he accepted the OAS findings and announced fresh elections. However given the social upheaval generated by the admission, and a state of insurrection in the police force, Morales was asked and suggested by the Bolivian Armed Forces that he should step down.
The Bolivian armed forces also informed president Morales that they would not go out to the streets to impose law and order, much less fight the people. Hours later Morales resigned accusing the opposition of promoting what he described as a coup.
Meanwhile the Bolivian Attorney General instructed the police to arrest all members of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and its regional chapters. The president of the Tribunal Maria Eugenia Choque Quiespe tried to escape arrest dressed as a man.
Likewise some twenty members of the Morales regime, including the vice president and several ministers resigned and took refuge in the Mexican embassy alleging they feared for the lives of their families.