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25.10.2019 US & Canada

Bolivia's Morales declares victory despite claims of vote rigging

By RFI
REUTERS/David Mercado
OCT 25, 2019 US & CANADA

Bolivian President Evo Morales has claimed victory in the country's elections following a delayed count that spurred accusations of vote rigging.

With almost all ballots counted, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) gave 59-year-old Morales just over 47 percent of the vote.

The result allows Morales to avoid a second round runoff against his closest rival, the centrist Carlos Mesa – who took 36.5 percent.

The TSE has been heavily criticised for its conduct of the count process. First results suggested Morales would not gain the 10 percentage points needed to avoid a runoff.

Its website then stalled for 24 hours, and when it resumed, Morales had emerged as a clear winner.

Disputes over the results have led to accusations that Morales is trying to steal a fourth term in office, triggering riots and a general strike.

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Mesa the US, EU, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia have all called for a second round to ensure the vote's legitimacy.

Regional bloc the Organisation of American States has said that Bolivia should wait for an audit before declaring final results.

Victory means Morales, already Latin America's longest-serving president, will remain in power until 2025.

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