Bolivia’s military chief calls on President Morales to resign after new elections announced

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Bolivia’s military urged President Evo Morales to resign amid protests, stating that it would help to preserve “peace” in the country. The call comes after Morales agreed to hold new elections.

“After analyzing the internal conflict situation, we ask the President of the State to renounce his presidential mandate, allowing for peace to be restored and the maintenance of stability for the good of Bolivia,” the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, Williams Kaliman, said.

Shortly before Kaliman’s statement, Bolivia’s military said it had ordered air and land operations to “neutralize” unspecified armed groups that act outside the laws of the country. It remains unclear what groups exactly the military plans to target.

This call from the top brass comes after President Morales agreed to hold snap elections, responding to allegations of “irregularities” and “manipulation” of the October vote. Earlier on Sunday, the Organization of American States (OAS) mission, probing the election said it was unable to validate its results and urged Bolivia to hold new ones. The opposition insisted that the president should resign before his mandate runs out in January, which he called a “coup attempt.” 

“They demand that I resign, this is an attempted coup …. This is unconstitutional and illegal. I have a constitutional mandate that lasts until January next year,” Morales told teleSUR earlier on Sunday.

While Kaliman has not explicitly supported the opposition during the political crisis, he repeatedly called for resolving it through political means to maintain “peace” in the country, stating that the national army would never fight against “the people among whom we live.”

Protests gripped the country after the contested elections in October, with mobs harassing authorities in several cities. Police joined the demonstrators in some cities, marching in their uniforms.

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