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Montevideo, September 24th 2021 - 00:33 UTC

 

 

What happens next in Bolivia: who will rule transition until fresh elections take place

Monday, November 11th 2019 - 15:39 UTC
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Vice-president of the Senate, Jeanine Añez, from the opposition has stated she feels it is her patriotic duty to take office as interim president Vice-president of the Senate, Jeanine Añez, from the opposition has stated she feels it is her patriotic duty to take office as interim president

Following on the resignation of president Evo Morales, the big question is what happens next in Bolivia. In effect according to articles 169/170 of the Bolivian constitution, when the president is removed or steps down, he is to be replaced by the vice president, the president of the Senate or the head of the Lower House, to head a transition administration with the task of holding fresh elections in 90 days.

But all of them members of the MAS (Movement towards Socialism) political party belonging to Morales, have also resigned.

Furthermore most have requested political asylum overseas, apparently Mexico, which has declared that some twenty Bolivian officials have presented such a request. Mexico also added that it was prepared to receive president Evo Morales, although the outgoing leader indicated he plans to remain in Bolivia.

Given this situation the vice president of the Senate, Jeanine Añez, from the opposition has stated she feels it is her patriotic duty to take office as interim president, and make effective the mandate of holding new elections.

However, before all this happens the Legislative Assembly must consider and approve the long list of resignations including that of president Morales, and have Ms Añez named interim president.

But there is another possible impediment which is the necessary quorum for the Legislative to function. In effect since two thirds have been elected as members of Morales MAS party, it is not certain whether they wil show up. In other words it is not clear what can happen or not, on Monday to respect institutional order and comply with the constitution.

The Armed Forces, who recommended Morales to resign, don't seem prepared to fill the political vacuum, most probably fearing accusations of a military coup, even when most probably the turning point of the current situation was triggered by the mutiny of police forces, which refused to take orders from the Ministry of Interior, and late Sunday revealed they had received instructions from the Attorney General to apprehend members of the national and regional electoral boards.

When a situation involving an Executive vacuum a few years ago, the Justice, president of the Bolivian Supreme Court became interim president until fresh elections took place. But in the latest Bolivian constitution that option is nonexistent.

Meanwhile organized gangs belonging or identified with MAS, a kind of brown shirts brigades have descended on the capital La Paz and a few other cities, looting and beating up people generating panic and leaving streets empty.

These gangs set on fire urban transport buses and the home of one of the opposition leaders, a university dean who was among the first to question election results. In Cochabamba, strangely neighbors impeded these same MAS gangs from looting and arsoning Morales home.

Categories: Politics, Latin America, Unasur.

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