Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation Sunday, caving in following three weeks of sometimes-violent protests over his disputed re-election after the army and police withdrew their backing.
“I resign my post as president,” Morales said in a televised address, capping a day of fast-moving events in which several ministers and senior officials quit as support for Latin America’s longest-serving president crumbled.
The streets of La Paz immediately exploded in celebration, as jubilant Bolivians set off firecrackers and waved the country’s red, yellow and green flag.
Morales, 60 and in power since 2006, was declared the winner of presidential voting on October 20 by a narrow margin. It gave him a controversial fourth term.
But the opposition said there was fraud in the vote count, and three weeks of street protests ensued, during which three people died and hundreds were injured.
The Organization of American States carried out an audit of the election and on Sunday reported irregularities in just about every aspect that it examined: the technology used, the chain of custody of ballots, the integrity of the count, and statistical projections.
As chanting citizens kept up demonstrations in the street, Bolivian President called new elections, but this was apparently not enough to calm the uproar, and the commanders of the armed forces and the police joined the calls for the president’s resignation.