LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The latest on Bolivia’s elections (all times local):
Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Court says presidential voting must be repeated at four places in the Amazonian Beni region because of irregularities, throwing a further delay into providing a final, official tally in the disputed vote that has seen days of protests.
The body says the re-votes will take place Nov. 3.
Meanwhile, the European Union is supporting a recommendation by the Organization of American States that a runoff election be held between President Evo Morales and ex-President Carlos Mesa. They finished first and second among nine candidates in Sunday’s election.
With 99.7% of votes counted Thursday afternoon, Morales has 47.03% to Mesa’s 36.55%. If that holds in the final count, Morales will have the 10-point edge needed to avoid a runoff, though he declared himself the winner earlier in the day.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has declared himself the winner of the country’s presidential election, saying he received the 10 percentage point lead over his nearest rival needed to win in the first round of voting.
With more than 98 percent of the votes counted from Sunday’s election, he said he had the votes needed to avoid a second round runoff against rival, ex-president Carlos Mesa.
In a press conference Thursday, Bolivia’s first indigenous president said: “We have won in the first round. With 1.5% (of the votes) left to count, we have won with the rural vote.”
Mesa immediately announced that he would form an alliance to “defend the vote” and alleged that Morales has perpetrated “a monumental fraud” to get re-elected to a fourth term.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has edged to the threshold he needs for an outright victory in his re-election bid after accusing his opponents of trying to stage a coup against him amid protests over the disputed and slow-moving vote count.
While votes remain to be counted early Thursday, the leftist leader stands at the exact 10 percentage-point margin over his closest rival required to avoid a runoff ballot in December in which he could risk being defeated by a united opposition in his bid for a fourth consecutive term in office.
As the clock ticked into a new day, the official vote count moved him to a 10-point lead, with just under 2% of the votes from Sunday’s election still to be counted. He leads former President Carlos Mesa 46.76% to 36.76%.