Jeanine Añez's surprise candidacy in Bolivia elicits strong reactions

Interim Bolivian President Jeanine Añez at an event with indigenous Bolivian women known as "Cholas" in La Paz on January 27.
Interim Bolivian President Jeanine Añez at an event with indigenous Bolivian women known as "Cholas" in La Paz on January 27. CLAURE / REUTERS MANUAL

The letters of resignation of the ministers of Jeanine Añez began to arrive one by one Monday, January 27. The interim Bolivian president had asked the day before for the resignation of all members of her government, with a view to a "New stage of democratic transition". In a statement published Sunday evening, she wanted to be reassuring, describing "Normal" this request being part "Adjustments" before the general elections of May 3. His new cabinet was to be announced on Tuesday.

Friday evening, surprising many Bolivians, the president announced her candidacy for the presidential election. A turnaround when she had repeatedly assured that she was not destined to enter the electoral race.

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This decision was all the more astonishing than Mme Añez never ceased to castigate the division of opponents of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) – party of resigned president Evo Morales, in exile in Argentina – who compete in a myriad of parties (eight at present), and that it in recent weeks, there have been more calls for unity to block the MAS. "The dispersion of votes and candidacies led me to make this decision", however, she advanced.


MAS leads polls with 26% of voting intentions, according to a survey published by the daily on Sunday Pagina Siete, in front of regional leader Luis Fernando Camacho (right) and former centrist president Carlos Mesa, tied with 17%. Jeanine Añez, for her part, has capped at 12% for the moment – the survey having been carried out before the announcement of her candidacy.

Jeanine Añez succeeded Evo Morales on November 12, 2019, two days after the latter's hasty departure. Faced with the vacancy of power and the successive resignations of the Vice-President, the President of the Senate and the President of the Chamber of Deputies, who said they were threatened, it was she, the second Vice-President of the Senate, who returned the responsible for replacing the Head of State.

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Jeanine Añez, a 52-year-old lawyer, presented his movement, "Juntos" ("together") on Friday, January 24, from the alliance of four political parties. She assures that her candidacy will not affect her management in the service of "All Bolivians".

However, his decision to run for office drew much criticism, particularly from his own camp. Many fear a resurgence of instability in a country still weakened by months of political crisis. Sunday evening, the Minister of Communication, Roxana Lizarraga, defected before even the request for collective resignation, considering that the candidacy of Mme Añez was a "Treason" to the Bolivian people and to the "Great mobilization of twenty-one days" – with reference to the demonstrations and the general strike that followed the elections of October 20, 2019. "We cannot allow that (our democracy) be in danger again ", she said at a press conference, qualifying "Error" this candidacy and comparing it to the actions of the "Evo Morales dictatorship".


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