‘I Assume the Presidency’: Bolivian Lawmaker Declares Herself Leader

‘I Assume the Presidency’: Bolivian Lawmaker Declares Herself Leader

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Greater than two days after Bolivia’s president resigned beneath strain, the senator who’s subsequent within the line of succession stood earlier than the nationwide meeting on Tuesday and stated she was seizing management of the nation, which had been left rudderless.

“I assume the presidency instantly and can do every little thing essential to pacify the nation,” stated the senator, Jeanine Añez Chavez.


Ms. Añez’s announcement was the most recent dramatic flip after President Evo Morales stepped down on Sunday and accepted an asylum provide in Mexico. He arrived there Tuesday morning and defiantly vowed to return, denouncing his ouster as a coup.

His abrupt departure got here after the armed forces sided with protesters and urged him to step down. However the change threatened to vault Bolivia right into a leaderless energy vacuum.

A former media govt and chief of a conservative coalition, Ms. Añez stated earlier than she declared herself president that she would lead a transition centered on deciding on an trustworthy electoral fee and holding elections as quickly as potential.

“That is merely a transitory second,” she stated earlier Tuesday. “There may be an urgency.”

On Monday, as looting and violence unfold throughout a number of cities, Ms. Añez at first appeared rattled, sobbing as she known as for calm. However by the night, she was projecting energy, and demanding that the military settle for the nationwide police’s name to collectively patrol the streets of La Paz to revive order.

The military shortly responded, sending troops into the streets and organising defensive positions round very important infrastructure like electrical energy and waterworks.

By Tuesday morning, the streets of La Paz had been tense, however largely quiet.

Bolivians remained sharply divided of their political opinions — and of their hopes for the long run.

Mr. Morales, who was first elected in 2006, was the primary Indigenous president of Bolivia, the place about two-thirds of the inhabitants are of Indigenous descent. Within the Plaza San Francisco in La Paz, road distributors, most Indigenous, overwhelmingly expressed assist for him.

“Evo was the most effective president we ever had,” stated Rosario Siñane, 39, who was promoting individually wrapped candies. “Now we’ve got no extra hope.”

José Ariel Blanco, the 25-year-old proprietor of a stationery retailer two blocks from the legislature, stated he was grateful for Mr. Morales’s achievements — chief amongst them, tackling the racism that the Indigenous had suffered for hundreds of years.

“My grandmother couldn’t stroll right into a financial institution in her Indigenous garments till Evo turned president,” he stated. “Now she will be able to, and that gained’t change.”

However he stated Mr. Morales went too far in bending the foundations of democracy. “The Venezuelan and Cuban fashions don’t work over time,” he stated.

Down the road from Mr. Blanco’s retailer, Victor Huancollo, a 24-year-old laptop science college pupil, stood guard at a makeshift barricade meant to maintain supporters of Mr. Morales from approaching the legislature. He was hopeful that new elections can be held in just a few months, he stated, and that “a clear president who just isn’t corrupt will emerge, not like what we had during the last 14 years.”

On Tuesday morning Mr. Morales was met by Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s overseas minister, on the presidential hangar of Mexico Metropolis’s primary airport.

In feedback to the information media, Mr. Morales remained defiant, vowing to proceed his involvement in politics and his battle for social justice, Bolivia’s Indigenous populations and the poor.

“Our sin is that we’re ideologically anti-imperialist, however this coup gained’t make me change ideologically,” he stated.

Mr. Morales, who was flanked by Bolivia’s former vice chairman, Álvaro García Linera, additionally thanked his hosts, the Mexican authorities.

“We’re very grateful to the president of Mexico, as a result of he saved my life,” he stated.

Mr. Morales left workplace after weeks of rising unrest over a disputed presidential election and after the army indicated it could assist the individuals within the streets who had been calling for him to step down.

In his audio message, which was launched by the Mexican information media and broadcast in Bolivia, Mr. Morales known as on the army to “cease the bloodbath.” Photographed draped in a Mexican flag aboard a Mexican Air Power airplane, Mr. Morales additionally instructed his supporters: “We’ll work collectively for Bolivia.”

At a information convention on Tuesday morning, Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s overseas minister, stated his authorities had encountered quite a few difficulties in securing permission to land its airplane in Bolivia to retrieve Mr. Morales, and in getting cooperation from different nations within the area to facilitate the airplane’s return to Mexico with the previous Bolivian president aboard.

Among the many obstacles, he stated, the federal government of Peru had forbidden the airplane to land on Peruvian territory to refuel throughout its return journey, and Ecuador had blocked passage over its territory, forcing the airplane to take a path over the Pacific Ocean.

That additional delayed Mr. Morales’s arrival in Mexico Metropolis.

Kirk Semple contributed reporting from Mexico Metropolis.

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