The swearing-in of Jeanine Áñez as president of Bolivia was unconstitutional. © AFP Jeanine Áñez's swearing-in as president of Bolivia was unconstitutional.
Bolivia's Plurinational Constitutional Court (TCP) Friday ruled that the swearing in of Jeanine Áñez as President following the departure from office by Evo Morales was not justificed since there was never a vacuum of power or constitutional succession to call for the self-proclamation.
The TCP held that temporary replacement does not mean that the replacement takes over the position of president, althoguh at the time of the events the TCP had validated Áñez decision.
Áñez is now under preventive arrest since March, facing sedition, terrorism, conspiracy and genocide charges, among other crimes regarding the repression against demonstrators during the 2019 revolt.
In 2019, lawmakers Susana Rivero, Margarita Fernández Claure, Adriana Salvatierra and Víctor Borda had already resigned in addition to Vice President Álvaro García Linera. Thus the line of succession went on to Áñez. In the controversy between Rivero and Fernández Claure, the TCP had ruled at the end of September that the temporary replacement does not mean that the replacement assumes the position of president and Rivero remained Speaker of the Lower house because her resignation had not been accepted by a plenary session.
Áñez became President after being proclaimed without a quorum in an act in the Senate on November 12, 2019, hours after Morales left the country amid strong pressure from the opposition and leaders of the Armed Forces and Police. She stayed in office until November 8, 2020, when current President Luis Arce took office after winning the Oct. 18 elections.
Áñez faces genocide charges from relatives of the victims of the Nov. 15, 2019, repression in Sacaba, near Cochabamba, and Nov. 19 at the Senkata gas plant in El Alto, near La Paz. She is also being tried for sedition, terrorism and conspiracy as well as for breach of public duties.
According to the statement issued Friday, ”the TCP ruled that the so-called ipso facto succession only applies to the Presidency of the State, in accordance with article 169 of the Political Constitution of the State (...) all resignations must be treated and accepted in plenum, clarifying that temporary replacement does not mean that the replacement assumes (adjudicates) the position of President.”
Senator Añez was second vice president of the Upper House at the time she took office after everybody else in the line of succession had turned in their resignations.