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Bolivia: Presidential Resignation and


Updated January 7, 2020

On November 10, 2019, Bolivia's Evo Morales of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party
resigned his presidency and sought asylum in Mexico. He ultimately received refugee status in Argentina.
Bolivia's military suggested Morales consider resigning to prevent violence after weeks of protests
alleging fraud in the October 20, 2019, election. Three individuals in line to succeed Morales (the vice
president and the presidents of the senate and the chamber of deputies) also resigned. Opposition Senator
Jeanine Afiez, formerly second vice president of the senate, declared herself senate president and then
interim president on November 12. Bolivia's constitutional court recognized her succession. Following
protests and state violence, the MAS-led Congress unanimously approved an electoral law to annul the
October elections and select a new electoral tribunal. On January 3, 2020, the tribunal announced those
elections are scheduled for May 3, 2020.
The Trump Administration and Congress have expressed concerns regarding irregularities and
manipulation in Bolivia's election and violence following the election and Morales's resignation. They
support efforts to ensure the May elections are free and fair.

October Elections Annulled
Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, transformed Bolivia, but observers criticized his effort to
remain in office beyond constitutionally mandated term limits (he won elections in 2006, 2009, and
2014). In 2017, Bolivia's Constitutional Tribunal removed limits on reelection established in the 2009
constitution, overruling a 2016 referendum in which voters rejected a constitutional change to allow
Morales to serve another term.

                                                                 Congressional Research Service

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