Two meetings will shape Bolivia's future today following the resignation of former President Evo Morales on Sunday, on the recommendation of Bolivian politicians, military and police, who withdrew their support at the end of three weeks of protests over allegations of fraud in the elections. October 20th. At dawn, he flew to Mexico, where he will receive asylum.
The first meeting will be the extraordinary session of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, with deputies and senators. The agenda foresees examining the resignation of Mr Evo from Vice-President Álvaro García Linera. In addition, they resigned from the Senate presidents Adriana Salvatierra and from the House of Representatives Rubén Medinacelli, both from Evo's party, the Movement for Socialism (Mas).
As the Bolivian Constitution does not provide for any other position in the line of succession in the event of collective resignation, it is most reasonable to leave the decision to Parliament, which will call for new elections within 90 days. Interimly, it is likely that the presidency will be taken at tomorrow's session by the second Senate vice-president, Jeanine Áñez Chavez, of the opposition Democratic Unit.
The second meeting, also called this afternoon, will be held in Washington, at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS). It was the preliminary result of the OAS audit in the Bolivian elections, released Sunday morning, which precipitated Evo's resignation in the late afternoon. In the beginning, he agreed to hold new elections, as the auditors found it impossible to guarantee the fairness of the election, so much evidence of fraud. But the late concession proved insufficient in view of the demand for resignation and the chaotic picture of the country.
Should the Bolivian Assembly determine the transition rules until the new elections, the OAS should endorse them and guide the stance of the international community. The obvious resistance comes from the traditional allies of Evo, Cuba, and Venezuela, perhaps Mexico. No one, however, can oppose new elections.
Internally the main obstacle is the Mas, a no-brainer after Evo's exile, but still owns more than two-thirds of the parliamentary seats. Before the resignation, street protests were led by the most radical opposition, especially in the province of Santa Cruz. After her, acts of vandalism across the country have been associated with Mas leaderships or social movements.
Fire, looting and violence were reported in La Paz, El Alto, Cochabamba and other cities. Vandals burned police vehicles. Groups of coca miners and planters were mobilized. In Santa Cruz, right-wing leader Luis Fernando Camacho, the chief inciter of the protests against Evo, was forced to demand respect for the whipala, the indigenous flag burned by his acolytes.
Añez had to be hastily removed from Congress, where a crowd was heading. Former president and opposition candidate Carlos Mesa reported that a mob was coming to his house and called for protection. Army and police have been working together since last night to try to regain order in the country. In La Paz and El Alto, residents erected barricades in an attempt to stop vandalism.
The rescue of the democratic order depends above all on the Mas. With 25 of the 36 senators and 88 of the 130 deputies, Evo's party can grant legitimacy to the transition to new elections, allowing the country to remain under Añez's provisional command until then. The alternative is the aggravation of chaos, with risk of secession and civil war.