Mon, 09 Dec 2019

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 13 (ANI): Evo Morales, who resigned from the presidency under pressure from police and army after a fiercely disputed election, has flown into exile in Mexico, leaving behind a political vacuum in Bolivia.

Morales thanked Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for saving his life, and reiterated that he had been forced to resign, CNN reported.

"We are here safe thanks to Mexico and its authorities, but I also want to tell you sisters and brothers, as long as I'm alive, we'll continue in politics," Morales said.

He added, "As long as I'm alive, the fight continues and we are sure that the peoples of the world can liberate themselves."Morales' arrival in Mexico came a day after his resignation as president, a move which followed military intervention amid mass protests and allegations of "serious irregularities" during last month's election.

It was a complicated journey, according to Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who detailed the complications of bringing Morales to Mexico in a televised press conference on Tuesday morning.

The Mexican Air Force plane sent to pick up Morales was initially denied access to Bolivian airspace, takeoff was delayed and protesters surrounded the airport in what Ebrard described as a "tense situation."Violent protests in Bolivia have left three dead and hundreds injured since the contested October 20 election.

The Bolivian opposition had accused electoral authorities of manipulating the vote in favour of the incumbent Morales, who denied the allegations and declared himself the winner.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) -- a Washington-based forum -- published a report Sunday alleging irregularities that impacted the official vote count. But an analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, another US-based think tank, has cast doubt on those findings, warning against what it called "the politicisation of the electoral observation process."Calls for Morales' removal grew over the weekend, culminating in police joining forces with anti-government protesters.

Morales claimed he'd been forced out in a coup -- a charge echoed by many of his allies in South America.

But Brazil's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it rejected the "thesis that a 'coup' is taking place in Bolivia," suggesting instead that Morales was "delegitimized" by popular protests following an "attempt at electoral fraud."Opposition figures said they were engaged in a struggle for "democracy and peace," though serious concerns remain about what role the military will play in the ongoing transition. (ANI)

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