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Violence in Bolivia where the surprise victory of Evo Morales looms

After violent incidents in the night, Bolivia was preparing Tuesday to live another day of tension after the latest election results that give outgoing president Evo Morales winner in the first round, in an unexplained turnaround denounced by his opponent and observers.

Suspicious turnaround of election results

Demonstrations erupted across the country after the electoral authorities, without any explanation, resumed Monday night the quick count of voices interrupted the day before. Monday at 21 hours, the Supreme Court of Bolivia (TSE) gave Evo Morales in the lead, with 46.87% of the vote, widening the gap with his main opponent Carlos Mesa, to 36.73%, according to 95.3% of bulletins stripped. That's a difference of 10.14 percentage points. To win in the first round, the leading candidate must obtain an absolute majority or at least 40% of the votes with 10 percentage points difference over the second.

In the evening of Sunday, Carlos Mesa, main adversary, denounced a “fraud” and announced that he did not recognize the last provisional results. “We will not recognize these results, which are part of a shameful fraud that is putting Bolivian society in a situation of unnecessary tension,” the former president told media in Santa Cruz. (is). For the time being, the official results had not been proclaimed.

Monday morning, in the hall of the hotel where the TSE met, Carlos Mesa, 66, who claims to be in the second round and not dismissed from the first, called for “citizen mobilization until the end result is known “. The candidate has also published several tweets denouncing the manipulation of results by the TSE. “The government uses the TSE to block access to the second round, which was clearly demonstrated yesterday, with the first two counts of votes,” said Carlos Mesa on Monday.

The anger of the protesters

An unlimited strike call from Tuesday noon was launched by Fernando Camacho, the president of the influential Pro-Santa Cruz Committee (is). This civil society organization, founded in 1950, brings together representatives of neighborhoods, businesses, transport and business leaders from Bolivia's largest city. “Tomorrow we start at 12 o'clock blocking this country,” he said in front of protesters. On Monday evening, long lines had formed at service stations in anticipation of a protracted social conflict as violent incidents broke out throughout Bolivia.

In Sucre (south-east), the constitutional capital, and in Potosi (southwest) a crowd set fire to the county electoral court, while clashes with police occurred in La Paz (west) and the local campaign of the ruling party was sacked in Oruro (west), reported The digital Razon, Los Tiempos and AFP. “Fraud!”, “Fraud!”, “Fraud!” Could be heard in some of the videos posted online. Incidents have also been reported in other cities in the country where police have dispersed protesters.

Concern on the part of international observers

The situation is strongly denounced by observers from the Organization of American States (OAS), present in Bolivia for the presidential election. “The OAS mission expresses its deep concern and surprise at the dramatic and difficult-to-justify change in the pattern of preliminary results after the closing of the polls on Sunday night, which paved the way for a second round of presidential elections. outgoing Morales and his main opponent Carlos Mesa, according to a statement.

“The United States rejects the electoral tribunal's attempt to corrupt Bolivian democracy by delaying counting and making decisions that undermine the credibility of the Bolivian elections,” said the deputy secretary of state for Latin America, Michael Kozak, in a tweet.

On the government side, Minister of Communication Manuel Canelas called for the final result of the TSE, noting that “none of us has any interest in raising the tension”. Sunday after the elections, Evo Morales said he, trust the vote in rural areas to avoid a second round. The decision of the head of state to seek a fourth term, despite the “no” in the referendum of February 2016, is very badly seen by some of Bolivians and criticized by the opposition, which believes that the country could pour into autocracy in case of new victory.

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