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Bolivian Senator declares herself interim president

WORLD
By AFP | November 13th 2019
Ms Jeanine Anez, a senator from the north-eastern department of Beni, said there was a "need to create a climate of social peace" in the country.

A deputy speaker of the senate proclaimed herself Bolivia's new interim president Tuesday during a session of Congress that failed to reach a quorum.

Lawmakers had been summoned to formalise Sunday's resignation of Mr Evo Morales and confirm Ms Jeanine Anez, 52, as interim president, to end a power vacuum.

"We want to call new elections as soon as possible," she said in a speech to Congress, with only lawmakers opposed to Mr Morales present. Earlier, in the Senate, she had proclaimed herself president of the upper chamber.

"It's a commitment we have made to the country and of course, we will fulfill it," she said.

Ms Anez, a senator from the north-eastern department of Beni, said there was a "need to create a climate of social peace" in the country.

Mr Carlos Mesa, the centrist candidate defeated by Mr Morales in the tainted October 20 presidential elections, tweeted his congratulations after the session.

Powerful opposition figure Luis Fernandez Camacho, regional leader in eastern department of Santa Cruz, announced he had lifted strikes and blockades called three weeks ago in protest at Morales' disputed re-election.

However, Mr Morales condemned what he called "the sneakiest, most nefarious coup in history".

Tweeting from exile in Mexico, where he fled to escape the mounting protests that prompted him to resign Sunday, Mr Morales called Ms Anez "a coup-mongering right-wing senator" and said she had "declared herself... interim president without a legislative quorum, surrounded by a group of accomplices."

Mr Morales, 60, resigned after weeks of often violent protests following his contested October 20 re-election which monitors from the Organization of American States said was riddled with irregularities.

Ms Anez, second vice-president of the Senate, is constitutionally next-in-line for the presidency after the vice-president and leaders of both houses of Congress resigned along with Mr Morales, leaving a power vacuum in the country.

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