Mexico offers asylum to Bolivian ex-president as clashes continue

Mexico offers asylum to Bolivian ex-president as clashes continue

Mexico has granted a request for asylum from former Bolivian president Evo Morales, according to the Mexican foreign secretary.

Marcelo Ebrard said on Sunday that Mexico would take Mr Morales if he wanted it, and announced on Monday that the ex-president had now requested asylum.

Bolivia’s first indigenous president resigned on Sunday after the military called for him to quit following weeks of protests over a disputed election.

Clashes and roadblocks rocked Bolivia on Monday, with crowds of celebrating Mr Morales’ resignation with fireworks in the streets and a tearful opposition leader laying out a possible path towards new elections.

Clashes in La Paz (Juan Karita/AP)
Clashes in La Paz (Juan Karita/AP)

Angry supporters of the socialist leader set barricades on fire to block some roads leading to the country’s main airport as tension gripped the nation, while his foes blocked most of the streets leading to the country’s main square in front of Congress and the presidential palace.

Opposition politician and Senate second vice-president Jeanine Anez said in an emotional address that she would take temporary control of the Senate, but it was unclear if she would need approval from the national assembly, which is controlled by Morales supporters.

She also said she would convene a legislative session on Tuesday to consider accepting the formal resignation of Mr Morales, and that new presidential elections could soon follow.

It was unclear if the national assembly could meet that soon because of continuing insecurity in the capital.

Jeanine Anez (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)
Jeanine Anez (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

“Please excuse me if my voice breaks,” she said between tears. “It’s so hard to see Bolivians clashing, no matter which side they’re on. They are being mistreated, and I’m asking you to cease the violence.”

Meanwhile, Mr Morales lashed out at his political opponents, calling it a return to an era of coups overseen by Latin American militaries that long dominated the region.

“(Opponents) lie and try to blame us for the chaos and violence that they provoked,” he tweeted.

His near 14-year presidency ended abruptly on Sunday, hours after he had accepted calls for a new election by an Organisation of American States team that found a “heap of observed irregularities” in the October 20 election whose official result showed Mr Morales getting just enough votes to avoid a runoff against a united opposition.

He stepped aside only after the military chief, General Williams Kaliman, called on him to quit to allow the restoration of peace and stability. It is not clear who will succeed Mr Morales, or how his successor will be chosen.

His vice president also resigned as did the Senate president, who was next in line. The only other official listed by the constitution as a successor, the head of the lower house, had resigned earlier

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