Bolivia: EP demands new elections as soon as possible

  • New independent Electoral Court indispensable to guarantee transparent elections 
  • Military must withdraw from protest areas 
  • Armed forces and the police should refrain from influencing political processes  

To return to stability, Bolivia needs to hold new “free, inclusive and transparent” elections as soon as possible, MEPs said on Thursday.

With 425 votes in favour, 132 against and 109 abstentions, the European Parliament adopted a resolution summarising the conclusions of the plenary debate held on 13 November on the situation in Bolivia, after President Evo Morales resigned under pressure from post-electoral protests and the military.

MEPs denounced the Bolivian authorities’ attempts to commit electoral fraud through major irregularities and manipulation during the poll, according to reports by the Organisation of American States (OAS). The text insists that, in order to ensure trust and confidence in the electoral process, a newly composed electoral body needs to be set up.

MEPs remind interim President Áñez that she is obliged to quickly call new presidential elections and underline that this is “the only way out of the current crisis”. They also demand that political retaliation be avoided.

Parliament notes that Evo Morales resigned following suggestions from senior members of the armed forces and stresses that both the armed forces and the police should refrain from influencing political processes and should be subject to civilian control.

The resolution underlines that respect for the independence of the judiciary, political pluralism, and freedom of assembly and expression for all Bolivians, “including the peasant indigenous nations and peoples”, are fundamental rights and essential pillars of democracy and the rule of law.

For the elections to be democratic, inclusive, transparent and fair, they should take place in the presence of credible and transparent international observers, who can operate freely and share their independent observations, adds the resolution. The Parliament is ready to assist, MEPs stress, calling on the EU’s High Representative to deploy a fully-fledged election observation mission.

Noting than at least 32 people have been killed in riots in the last few weeks, MEPs also strongly reject this violence and destruction and welcome the decision to withdraw the military from protest areas and repeal a law giving them broad discretion in the use of force. They demand proportionality from security forces and prompt, impartial, transparent and thorough investigations into these violent clashes.