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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.

The big picture: Morales is a giant of recent Bolivian history. The country's first indigenous president, he's been credited with reducing poverty and overseeing strong economic growth.

  • But he also consolidated power over institutions and the media, and sought the presidency this year despite losing a referendum on whether he could do so.

Driving the news: Pressure on Morales increased after the Organization of American States reported widespread electoral fraud. He promised a new vote, but Williams Kaliman, commander of the armed forces, urged him to resign in a televised address.

  • That hasn't ended the chaos on Bolivia's streets. "Mr Morales’s supporters burnt houses, businesses and buses in the streets of La Paz, and in the neighbouring city of El Alto," per the Economist.
  • "Several television stations and newspapers closed down to protect their employees. There are also reports that pro-opposition rioters ransacked Mr Morales’s house."

What to watch: The next three officials in the line of succession have resigned, leaving the country without a president.

  • As a power vacuum emerges in Bolivia, Morales is seeking the protection of a fellow leftist, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
  • President Trump cheered Morales' ouster as a "significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere" that would send a signal to the regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.

Women politicians are under siege

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Kevin Dietsch, Stefani Reynolds, and Alex Wong/Getty Images

Women in Congress feel besieged and singled-out amid surging threats against lawmakers at all levels, with some frustrated more hasn't been done to halt the trend.

Why it matters: As record numbers of American women are being elected to public office, their growing political power is being met with death and rape threats, sexist and racist abuse and online disinformation. Collectively, it's discouraged women from running for office.