Evo Morales agrees to new Bolivia election after voting manipulation found

Bolivia's President Evo Morales addresses the media

Following weeks of public protests over the results of a disputed Oct. 20 election in which Bolivian president Evo Morales claimed victory, Morales announced today that he would hold new elections.

Earlier today, the Organization of American States (OAS) said in a report that the results of the vote should be annulled because it had found evidence of “clear manipulations” of the voting system that cast doubt on the validity of the leftist leader’s victory.

Morales was declared the winner of the election during the first round of voting on Oct. 20, with a 10-point lead over his main rival Carlos Mesa, a margin of victory that, under Bolivian law, allows a candidate to win outright. But the better-than-expected results and an unexplained, nearly 24-hour halt in the vote count sparked accusations of election fraud. Protesters also criticized the constitutional court, which allowed Morales to run for a fourth term despite a popular vote affirming the country’s two-term limit.

The outlook of the protests worsened for Morales over the weekend as law enforcement officers joined demonstrators in La Paz and other cities and protesters stormed the offices of two state-run broadcasters.

Speaking in a televised address, Morales said he would replace the electoral authority and hold new elections. He called for peace, asking “everyone to guarantee peaceful coexistence and end violence for the good of all.”

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