Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales, who submitted his resignation letter last week, but which is yet to be accepted by Parliament, has called upon the United Nations and Pope Francis to mediate in country’s political crisis that he and some other states, such as Venezuela, Mexico, and Russia see as a coup d’état .
“I have a lot of confidence in the UN”, Morales said in an interview with the Associated Press following the news that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was sending special envoy Jean Arnault to Bolivia in order to find a solution to the crisis in the country.
Morales emphasised that he wanted the organisation “to be a mediator, not just a facilitator” in the peace process, something that could be “accompanied by the Catholic Church” and possibly Pope Francis.
Bolivia’s former president, who’s now in Mexico, resigned on Sunday following weeks of protests, sparked by claims of violating vote-counting procedures after a presidential election on 20 October. The deputy speaker of the upper house of Parliament, Jeanine Anez, assumed the interim presidency shortly afterward, which Morales has claimed to be an illegitimate transition of power. Morales insisted that Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly had to approve his resignation first, and if it failed to do so, he would return to the country.
“The assembly has to reject or approve the resignation. If they don't approve or reject it I can say that I am still president”, Morales said.
During the interview, Bolivia’s first indigenous president stressed that the United States was the “great conspirator” behind the coup that forced him into exile in Mexico, while also revealing that he was “surprised” by what he saw as a “betrayal” of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces William Kaliman, adding he was aware that Bolivian Army troops were planning to “rebel” against army officials who urged him to submit resignation.
Evo Morales had been in power for 13 years, since assuming the presidency in 2006. He submitted his resignation letter following weeks of nationwide protests over alleged vote-rigging in the 20 October election in which he won a fourth term, denying any potential fraud. The second vice president of the Senate Jeanine Anez assumed the interim presidency following his resignation, but now has 90 days to organise an election, according to the Bolivian Constitution.
On 12 November, Anez called a parliamentary session to formalise her position. This session was boycotted by Morales’ supporters who hold a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Morales’ party, Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), has insisted that the former president’s resignation letter first be accepted by Parliament, while also calling for his return from asylum. Several countries, including Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico, have described the events in Bolivia as a coup d’état.