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LATIN AMERICA | 10-06-2020 19:17

Bolivian Parliament approves new date for pandemic-delayed election

New date of September 6 approved for the country's coronavirus-delayed general election, although the decision must still be ratified by interim President Jeanine Añez.

Bolivia's parliament on Wednesday approved the new date of September 6 for the country's coronavirus-delayed general election, although the decision must still be ratified by interim President Jeanine Añez.

The new law was approved by both chambers of Congress "with more than two thirds of the votes," said Senate President Eva Copa.

Last week the Supreme Electoral Tribunal came to an agreement with political parties on the new date.

"I believe this law ... gives certainty over the date of an election that is crucial for the establishment of democracy in Bolivia," said the electoral tribunal president Salvador Romero.

Copa said no-one voted against the law but Añez's party abstained from the vote.

If Añez doesn't sanction the new law, Copa could also do so.

However, Minister of the Presidency Yerko Nuñez expects Añez to ratify the law.

Conservative Añez, a former senator, has been interim president since assuming power in November after socialist leader Evo Morales fled the country following three weeks of protests over his controversial re-election.

Not only did Morales stand in the election despite a constitutional ban against him seeking a fourth mandate, but an Organisation of American States audit of the October poll subsequently found clear evidence of fraud.

Morales is currently living in exile in Argentina and is barred from standing in the general election, even as a legislator.

But the candidate for his Movement for Socialism party, Luis Arce, led the most recent opinion poll with 33.3 percent.

Centrist former president Carlos Mesa came next with 18.3 percent and then Añez with 16.9.

Bolivia has recorded 15,000 coronavirus cases and less than 500 deaths since the virus appeared three months ago.

– AFP

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