Bolivia's Morales warns of potential coup attempt again

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
LA PAZ
Published 28.10.2019 23:27
Bolivia's President Evo Morales speaks, Vila Vila, Oct. 27, 2019. (Reuters Photo)
Bolivia's President Evo Morales speaks, Vila Vila, Oct. 27, 2019. (Reuters Photo)

Bolivia's President Evo Morales claimed on Sunday his political rivals were preparing to overthrow him this week as strike action and protests against his controversial re-election continued.

It was the second time in five days that the leader has warned of a coup, and it comes after Bolivia's electoral court declared him the winner of last Sunday's poll over his nearest challenger, Carlos Mesa.

The court said Morales had won with 47.1% compared to 36.5% for Mesa, narrowly giving him the 10-point margin he needed to win outright without a runoff.

Speaking from the rural village of Vila Vila, Morales warned that "various sectors of society... are preparing for a coup d'etat [this] week." Foreign powers including the European Union and the U.S. have called for a second round of voting, while the Organization of American States (OAS) expressed its "surprise" and "concern" over the sudden vote shift. The Washington-based OAS is planning an audit of the results.

Morales is seeking a fourth straight term. Bolivia's first indigenous president, Morales lost a referendum in 2016 in which he tried to remove term limits from the constitution, but a year later the Constitutional Court authorized him to stand for a fourth term.

The court, like the election tribunal, is made up of members appointed by Morales's Movement for Socialism party. As things stand, Morales, the longest-serving leader in Latin America, will continue to lead his country until 2025.

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