SUCRE: Jeanine Anez, the head of Bolivia’s Senate, declared herself interim president of Bolivia in Congress on Tuesday despite a lack of a quorum to appoint her in a legislative session that was boycotted by legislators from former President Evo Morales’ left-wing party.
“Before the definitive absence of the president and vice president … as the president of the Chamber of Senators, I immediately assume the presidency as foreseen in the constitutional order,” Anez, a right-wing opponent of Morales, said to applause from opposition lawmakers.
It was unclear if the move would quell unrest in the highland capital, La Paz, and other cities unleashed by Morales’ disputed bid for a fourth term. Video footage on Tuesday showed police battling Morales supporters in the city of Cochabamba and masked protesters calling for civil war.
Morales, who sought to transform Bolivia as its first indigenous president, landed in Mexico on Tuesday pledging to keep up his political “fight” after resigning in the wake of mass protests over the disputed October 20 election.
Morales called Anez’s move to replace him part of “the most cunning and disastrous coup in history” while a senator from his party called for protests starting on Tuesday.
In Morales’ stronghold of Al Alto, thousands gathered to protest at his departure, saying the former president was the only man who had brought “dignity” to the indigenous community and that they feared renewed discrimination.
“They say they are going to head towards La Paz,” Bo said. “They are saying that this will not go unpunished. They say they not only want Morales back, but they want the ‘head’ of Mesa, the opposition presidential candidate, and Camacho who is leader of the Civic Union of Santa Cruz and these people say is a racist.”
Military fighter jets flew repeatedly over La Paz in a show of force that infuriated Morales loyalists who were already in the city, but were stopped from getting to the main square.
“We’re not afraid!” shouted demonstrators.