the inglorious tenure of interim president Jeanine Añez

This photo released by the Bolivian government shows Bolivia's interim president, Jeanine Anez, announcing her withdrawal from the presidential race a month before elections in La Paz, Bolivia, September 17, 2020.

She was to remain at the head of the country for three months, the time to organize new elections, in which she had promised not to participate. Jeanine Añez, the right-wing senator who became, almost by chance, president of Bolivia on November 12, 2019 following the resignation of Evo Morales (2006-2019), accused of fraud during the October ballot, will have finally passed almost one year in power. The presidential election, the first round of which takes place Sunday, October 18, marks the end of the transitional government. Much to the relief of most Bolivians.

Because it is difficult, today, to find in the country a single laudator of its management. Even in Santa Cruz, in the east of the country, stronghold of the most radical right and yet its ally, the interim president is scolded.

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For her, everything had started well. When, on November 12, she showed up on the balcony of the Palacio Quemado, the seat of the executive, Bible in hand, opponents of Mr. Morales were euphoric. They who had taken to the streets for twenty-one days to obtain the departure of the hated Head of State finally saw their efforts rewarded. “We were all moved, I even posted an enthusiastic“ Habemus president! ”On social media. [“Nous avons une présidente”], remembers Santiago Siles, a 26-year-old activist who has been at all the protests against Evo Morales since 2018.

“A huge disappointment”

Jeanine Añez then had immense legitimacy: the Bolivians wanted change, she represented it. They wanted the return of serenity after weeks of confrontation, violence, death: it offered them the end of conflicts. A legitimacy to which Mme However, Añez herself ended, on January 24, by announcing her candidacy for the presidential election which was to be held on May 3 (and was finally postponed to September 6, then to October 18, because of the pandemic of Covid-19), alienating the broad political support it enjoyed.

His authoritarianism, his desire to annihilate the Movement towards Socialism (MAS), the party of Evo Morales, corruption scandals, a prime minister, Arturo Murillo, with punchy statements and his mismanagement of the health crisis did the rest. “It was a huge disappointment”, recognizes Santiago Siles.

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Numerous reports from international organizations have underlined the authoritarian character of the interim government headed by an openly racist president: freedom-killing laws; political persecution against ex-president Evo Morales and former members of his government prosecuted for “sedition”, “terrorism” or “genocide”; impunity given to the police in the repression of protests in November 2019, just after the departure of Evo Morales, causing the death of about thirty people …me Añez assures her to have “Pacified” the country.

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