Updated Nov 10, 2019

Bolivian President Evo Morales announces resignation amid mass protests

Photo: Javier Mamani/Getty Images

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation on Sunday, hours after saying he would call new elections amid widespread protests over the results of an Oct. 20 vote that he claimed to win.

Background: Deadly violence erupted after last month's election, which was plagued by allegations of voter fraud. Opposition candidate Carlos Mesa rejected the results and urged Bolivians to protest in the streets, while Morales accused him of mounting a coup. On Sunday, the Bolivian military asked Morales to resign.

"After analyzing the situation of internal conflict, we ask the president to resign, allowing peace to be restored and stability to be maintained for the good of our Bolivia."
— Gen. Williams Kaliman, per the AP

The big picture: Michael McCarthy, a research fellow at American University’s CLALS, notes that President Evo Morales' star was already fading before his election win, from corruption scandals, leadership fatigue and economic anxiety.

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Morales leaves for Mexico amid unrest on Bolivia's streets

People gesture at policemen as they patrol the streets in La Paz, Bolivia on Monday night. Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images

Evo Morales, who's stepped down as Bolivia's president, departed for Mexico Monday night after tweeting that he had accepted the country's offer of political asylum amid violent clashes between pro- and anti-Morales groups, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Bolivia is now in a "political vacuum" and facing its "worst unrest in decades," per AP, which reports Morales loyalists set barricades alight to "block some roads leading to the country's main airport" as anti-Morales protesters obstructed the majority of streets near the front of the presidential palace and congressional building over Monday night.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 12, 2019

Mexico grants asylum to Evo Morales, Bolivia's outgoing president

Photo: Alexis Demarco/APG/Getty Images

Mexico will grant asylum to Evo Morales, who stepped down as Bolivia's president yesterday after 14 years in power, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced this evening.

Why it matters: Bolivia has been engulfed in protests since an Oct. 20 election which Morales claimed to have won by a large enough margin to avoid a runoff, but which observers said was marred by irregularities. After stepping down, Morales claimed to be the victim of a coup.

Go deeperArrowNov 11, 2019

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.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 21, 2019