Bolivia's Morales claims victory in disputed election

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 24.10.2019 17:07
Bolivia's President Evo Morales leaves after a press conference, La Paz, Oct. 24, 2019. (AP Photo)
Bolivia's President Evo Morales leaves after a press conference, La Paz, Oct. 24, 2019. (AP Photo)

Bolivian President Evo Morales declared victory yesterday in elections whose disputed results have triggered violent unrest, a general strike and opposition charges that he is trying to steal the election to secure a fourth straight term.

Morales said after Sunday's voting, with 98% of the ballots counted, he has 46.83%, against 36.7% for his closest rival, the centrist Carlos Mesa.

A margin of at least 10 points would mean outright victory and no runoff. "We won in the first round," Morales told a news conference. He called this "good news."

The leftist leader called on observers to respect the South American country's constitution after a fraught presidential race sparked criticism from the election monitor and foreign governments concerned about vote rigging.

The Andean country's first indigenous and longest-serving president, Morales had already won three mandates in first election rounds. The constitution barred the 59-year-old from running again and a 2016 referendum opposed a reform that would have scrapped term limits, but the country's Constitutional Court and the electoral court ruled that denying Morales' candidacy would have violated his human rights.

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