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Anez threatens Morales with arrest if he returns

BOLIVIA’s self-proclaimed president Jeanine Anez today threatened former leader Evo Morales with prosecution if he returns to the country.

Ms Anez said that her democratically elected predecessor is breaking the conditions of his asylum in Mexico by continuing to engage in politics.

She added that Mr Morales would not be allowed to stand in a new election, which is expected to take place within three months.

However, Ms Anez said Mr Morales’s Movement Towards Socialism could participate.

Mr Morales travelled to Mexico and sought asylum after standing down on Sunday to avoid demonstrations against his re-election from causing “more bloodshed.”

He appealed for the United Nations to mediate in Bolivia’s political crisis today following the world body’s dispatch of special envoy Jean Arnault to find a peaceful solution to the unrest.

“I have a lot of confidence in the UN,” Mr Morales said, while urging it “to be a mediator, not just a facilitator, perhaps accompanied by the Catholic Church — and if Pope Francis is needed, we should add him.”

The ousted president also warned that the United States was the “great conspirator” behind the coup d’etat that forced him to leave his country.

The US is one of only a few countries to have recognised Ms Anez as Bolivia’s interim leader.

Mr Morales claims that he officially remains the president since the country’s parliament has not yet accepted his resignation.

He called for calm and dialogue in Bolivia and said: “I want to tell [my supporters] that we will have to recover democracy, but with a lot of patience and peaceful struggle.”

Backing for the indigenous leader remains visible on the streets of Bolivia.

On Thursday, his supporters from Chapare, a coca-growing region where Mr Morales was a prominent union leader before becoming president, demonstrated for his return.

Soldiers blocked them from reaching the nearby city of Cochabamba, where the former president’s supporters have been clashing with the opposition for the last month.

At least 10 people have been killed in recent clashes over Mr Morales’s resignation and a heavy military presence continues to be seen on the streets.


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