Bolivian president Evo Morales resigns amid accusations of election fraud

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Bolivian President Evo Morales on Sunday resigned as the country’s leader after the military urged him to step down and allies resigned amid a fierce backlash to a disputed election last month.

According to NBC News, the head of the South American country’s armed forces said the military had asked Morales, who had earlier agreed to hold new presidential elections amid growing evidence of fraud in an Oct. 20 vote, to resign in the wake of increasing protests.

“We suggest the President of the State renounce his presidential mandate, allowing peace to be restored and the stability maintained for the good of our Bolivia,” said General Williams Kaliman, the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces.

“Likewise, we ask the Bolivian people and mobilized sectors to shed attitudes of violence and disorder among brothers so as not to stain our families with blood, pain and mourning.”

Earlier on Sunday, a report from the Organization of American States (OAS), which conducted an audit of last month’s election, revealed serious irregularities in the election won by Morales, which sparked widespread division in the country.

The OAS report said the October election should be annulled after it had found “clear manipulations” of the voting system that called into question Morales’ win, with a lead of just over 10 points over main rival Carlos Mesa.

Morales, 60, announced his resignation in a televised address, reportedly saying he was stepping down “for the good of the country.” According to CNN, he has already left the country on his presidential plane.

Morales was first elected into presidential office in 2006.

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