Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday said his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales was facing a foreign coup attempt, referring to violent protests and allegations of fraud after his controversial re-election.
“We express our solidarity with the Bolivian people and specifically with our brother, President Evo Morales Ayma,” Maduro told a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in the Azerbaijani capital Baku.
Morales “is facing a destabilization campaign, he is facing an attempted coup d’etat from external forces that try to deny Bolivian voters, the Bolivian people their democratic rights,” he said. “We have to recognize the legitimacy of Evo Morales Ayma’s victory in Bolivia.”
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) October 25, 2019
Morales was on Thursday officially declared the outright winner of presidential elections for a fourth successive term. He had secured 47.1 percent of the vote, against 36.5 percent for his closest rival Carlos Mesa.
Bolivia’s constitution limits presidents to two consecutive mandates.
Mesa cried foul, accusing Morales’s party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS), of “electoral fraud” after it declared Morales the winner before official results were announced.
After the announcement, violent protests have raged all week, and fresh clashes broke out Thursday between supporters of both sides in Santa Cruz, the economic capital and opposition stronghold.
???????? We are concerned by reports of violence & excessive use of force in #Bolivia after the elections. We call on all actors to exercise restraint to reduce tensions and engage in dialogue. Otherwise, there is a serious risk the situation will spiral.
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) October 25, 2019
The new mandate means Morales, already Latin America’s longest-serving president, will remain in power until 2025.
The United States, the European Union, and Latin American countries have called for a run-off vote to restore trust and confidence in the electoral process.