Updated Nov 13, 2019

Bolivian Sen. Jeanine Áñez declares herself interim president

Jeanine Áñez. Photo by Javier Mamani/Getty Images)

A senior U.S. State Department official welcomed conservative Bolivian opposition Sen. Jeanine Áñez's declaration Tuesday that she's the country's interim president following the departure of Evo Morales.

Why it matters: Former President Evo Morales left Bolivia in a political vacuum after resigning amid protests against his disputed October election win. There were clashes between his supporters and anti-Morales protesters on the streets of the capital when he left for Mexico on Monday night after accepting the country's offer of political asylum.

"Acting Senate President Añez has assumed responsibilities of Interim Constitutional President of Bolivia. We look forward to working with her & Bolivia’s other civilian authorities as they arrange free & fair elections as soon as possible, in accordance w/ Bolivia’s constitution."
— Michael Kozak, acting assistant secretary for U.S. State Department's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

What's happening: Bolivia's Constitutional Court endorsed Áñez's declaration, which lawmakers from Morales' party object, per the BBC, which reports that the exiled leader reacted to the news by calling her "a coup-mongering right-wing senator."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper: Bolivia unrest: What you need to know

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Bolivia unrest: What you need to know

Supporters of Bolivia's former President Evo Morales during clashes with police on Nov. 19 in El Alto, La Paz. Photo: Gaston Brito Miserocchi/Getty Images

Bolivia's interim president asked Congress Wednesday to back fresh elections as violence continued to grip the country in the wake of former President Evo Morales' resignation, the BBC reports.

Why it matters: There have been running street battles ever since the disputed Oct. 20 election, claimed by Morales. Clashes between Morales' supporters and security forces have been ongoing since his Nov. 10 resignation and subsequent departure for the political asylum of Mexico. At least 32 people have died in the unrest, per the BBC.

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The big picture: One thing's for sure — it's not because of any one political system. Venezuela has had a quasi-communist regime for almost 20 years, Chile has had a totally different pro-market approach, while Bolivia and Ecuador have had their own peculiar mixes of socialism and capitalism. But each society has gone through similar social crises in recent months.

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