Bolivia in expectation after taking office of new interim president

Jeanine Añez, the second vice-president of the Senate, has proclaimed herself interim president of Bolivia. Evo Morales' party boycotted his takeover.

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The Acting President of Bolivia, Jeanine Añez, November 12 in La Paz. LUISA GONZALEZ / REUTERS

It is with a Bible in her hands that Jeanine Añez, second vice-president of the Bolivian Senate, dedicated her inauguration to the Palacio Quemado, the former seat of the government, on the evening of Tuesday 12 November. "God allowed the Bible to enter the Palacio again. (…) Our strength is God, our power is God, she exclaimed, filled with fervor.

Moments earlier, the 52-year-old right-wing senator had declared herself the new president of Bolivia before a sparse parliamentary assembly. Elected members of the Movement for Socialism (MAS), the party of ex-president Evo Morales exiled in Mexico, and still a majority in Congress, had announced the boycott of the quorum to formalize his appointment, considering the process illegitimate.

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The Constitutional Court validated the estate, finding it in accordance with the laws. The successors envisaged by the Constitution in the event of a departure of the Head of State have indeed all resigned with him: the vice-president, Alvaro Garcia Linera, the president and the vice-president of the Senate as well as the president of the Chamber of Deputies.

"Pacify the country"

"Due to the definitive absence of President and Vice-President (…) as president of the Senate Chamber, I immediately assume the presidency as provided by the constitutional order ", said Mme Añez, to the applause of the elected representatives of the opposition. She recalled that her mission was to convene general elections as soon as possible and undertook to make every effort to "Pacify the country".

Not sure, however, that it alleviates the situation. A stone's throw from Parliament, whose access was firmly guarded by police and military forces, supporters of the resigning president had rallied, waving hundreds of wiphala multicolored, the flag symbol of a multi-national Bolivia, a legacy of the Morales era, harmed in recent days, the images of burned flags waking up old fears and raising fears of renewed racism.

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"We do not want Añez to take the chair. This is a sign back, the opposition will take revenge and sweep away everything Evo has done ", worries Cesar Tarifa, in the middle of the crowd, a cloth mask covering half of his face. "She will take power, militarize it and we will not be able to protest. The MAS and the indigenous movement will be discredited and prevented from participating in the new elections ", he predicts bitterly.


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