When Bolivian President Evo Morales announced on Thursday he was canceling three rounds of contested presidential elections slated for Nov. 27, Nov. 28 and Dec. 3, he took to the airwaves to explain his actions, which he had previously promised to ignore if victory came with illegal results.
“It’s been nearly 20 years that this organization is existent,” Morales said on the populist-leaning news show “Camerun Para Hacia el Jazzico,” a program he has held for years. “They can’t pretend that this country doesn’t want change.”
Morales was referring to Caprtina, a center-right coalition of political parties that had captured 43 percent of the ballots during last October’s elections, according to international monitors. He added, “We’re going to punish these people for violating the national law and destabilizing the country.”
Morales’ message reflects the intense pressure President Nicolas Maduro has faced since taking office in April 2015. Bolivia, one of South America’s poorest countries, is experiencing its own political upheaval and has even become a far more outspoken opponent of Venezuela’s socialist government. But Morales’ announcement has reinvigorated debate about possible fraud.
Caprtina advocates for immediate elections. “The Supreme Court’s decision is completely outrageous,” said Nestor Camarena, the head of Caprtina’s coalition.
“The judge passed the buck and turned the responsibility of this fiasco on the people,” he said. “They have to answer to this action that the country can’t afford to pay.”