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No proof whatsoever Bolivia’s Morales rigged elections — Russian diplomat

The diplomat explained that a dangerous power vacuum emerged in the country, which can lead to longstanding civil confrontation, particularly on ethnic grounds

MOSCOW, January 30. /TASS/. Radical forces in Bolivia have failed to prove that the October election was falsified by then President Evo Morales following instigating events that led to his resignation with help from overseas, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin American Department Alexander Shchetinin said in an interview with TASS.

"Evo Morales’ resignation request, which by the way was formally approved by the parliament, as the constitution requires, after almost three months, came as a result of developments that spun out of control and were orchestrated by radical forces with foreign assistance under the pretext that the presidential election on October 20, 2019 was rigged which nobody managed to prove then or now (including the infamous Organization of American States)," he said. "These developments had a coup d’etat written all over them, particularly because the Bolivian power structures intervened decisively."

The diplomat explained that a dangerous power vacuum emerged in the country, which can lead to longstanding civil confrontation, particularly on ethnic grounds. "Against this background, many states declared similar positions — the leadership that was formed then is viewed as interim (in Spanish, they even have a term ‘referencia de autoridad’), de-facto before a new election is held and a legitimate leadership is formed," Shchetinin said, adding that Russia also treats the current Bolivian leadership as temporary.

The diplomat stressed that Moscow analyzes the situation in Bolivia based on provisions of international and national law as well as realism in assessing the developments and their consequences.

Shchetinin also pointed out that Russia disapproves of any foreign state’s interference into Bolivia’s electoral process as inadmissible. He also underscored, "Peaceful Bolivia is important for Russia as a significant economic partner and respected political player in Latin America and the Caribbean." "We are convinced that stable Bolivia is needed by all citizens of this state," he added.

Bolivian crisis

Bolivia held a presidential election on January 20, 2019 which showed then incumbent president Evo Morales grabbing most of the votes, according to the Bolivian Supreme Electoral Tribunal. Carlos Mesa, his key opponent, refused to concede the election and recognize Morales’ first round victory. After the results were officially released, Morales’ opponents organized protests and the country plunged into unrest and turmoil.

After three weeks of chaos, Morales stepped down branding the developments as a coup d’etat. Second Deputy Speaker of the Bolivian Senate Jeanine Anez representing the opposition assumed the presidency until a new election is held. On January 24, the interim president revealed that she would run in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for May 3, contrary to what she said previously. After the news emerged, Communications Minister Roxana Lizarraga tendered her resignation, rebuking the decision made by Anez.