Bolivian Court Blocks Former President Evo Morales from Senate Race

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A Bolivian court has refused a legal appeal by former president Evo Morales to run for a Senate position in the upcoming October election.

The election is a re-run of a voided vote late last year. It was initially rescheduled for May 2020 but was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court ruled that Morales is “ineligible” to run, citing residency issues.

Morales planned to run as a candidate for the senate in the central region of Cochabamba. In February, the tribunal ruled that he did not meet the requirement of residing in the region for two years leading up to the election.

Morales is Bolivia’s first indigenous leader. He also became the country’s longest-serving leader after the constitutional court abandoned presidential term limits. Morales ran for a fourth consecutive term in October 2019.

Following the results of the election, opposition leaders claimed that Morales had tampered with the results. The organization of American States investigated the allegations, and an audit found clear evidence of election fraud. After several weeks of civil unrest, Morales tendered his resignation in a televised address to the nation.

“I want to tell you, brothers and sisters, that the fight does not end here,” Morales said during his speech. “The poor, the social movements, will continue in this fight for equality and peace.”

“It hurts a lot,” he added.

Following the court’s ruling, Morales tweeted that he would not appeal Monday’s decision.

“We are aware that due to internal pressures and external impositions they decided to disqualify my candidacy. We bear the costs of our fight for the people. We will continue on the peaceful and democratic path of the liberation of our dear #Bolivia,” he said in a separate tweet.

Morales may have bigger fish to fry in the coming months.

Bolivia has asked the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor to investigate whether Morales and his supporters committed crimes against humanity. According to the Associated Press, his administration set up roadblocks to prevent Bolivians from accessing vital health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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