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Bolivia’s socialist party claims massive victory a year after ‘US-backed coup’

Bolivia’s elections on Sunday saw the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), claim a victory after securing 52.4 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls.

This election follows the ousting of former Bolivian President, and leader of MAS, Evo Morales, in 2019 following controversial protests led by Bolivia’s military and allegations by the Organisation of American States (OAS) of irregularities in the electoral process. Supporters of Morales has described the outing of Morales and the appointment of US-backed interim president, Jeanine Áñez Chavez, as a “US-backed coup”.

Morales was forced into exile in Argentina and his party was led by his former finance minister, Luis Arce.  Whilst Jeanine Áñez Chavez has acknowledged the legitimacy of MAS victory, if the official count is accurate, Arturo Murillo, the interim Interior Minister, has warned against the return of Morales.

On Sunday soldiers and armoured vehicles took to the streets of La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, in what Murillo describes as an attempt to prevent “the return of dictators”.

The Washington Post notes that Morales, who was democratically elected three times before his controversial bid for a fourth term last year.

In an interview, Arce maintained that Morales would need to face the justice system to defend himself against “numerous” charges if he returned.

“We think that our comrade Evo has every right, if he so wishes, to return to the country and defend himself,” Arce said.

Read more from the Washington Post

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