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Bolivia election audit chief quits

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The head of an international body auditing Bolivia’s disputed election results resigned unexpectedly on Friday, casting further uncertainty over a vote that sparked deadly riots and delivered President Evo Morales a fourth term.

The chief of the technical mission from the Organisation of American States (OAS), Mexican Arturo Espinosa, announced he is stepping down from the role just a day after beginning the review of the controversial poll.

“I have decided to withdraw from the audit so as not to compromise its impartiality. I should have informed the OAS about previous public statements (declarations) about the electoral process in Bolivia,” he wrote in a tweet.

An OAS spokeswoman later confirmed his resignation to AFP.

Espinosa wrote two articles related to Bolivia’s elections for a Mexican news website in the past two weeks, including one — published after the election — which raised doubts over the poll’s transparency.

The October 20 election result, ratified on Friday by Bolivia’s own Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), saw Morales narrowly secure the 10-point gap needed to win outright — but only after an abrupt and unexplained shift in the vote count in his favor.

The opposition candidate, Carlos Mesa, criticised the TSE’s latest result calculations, saying they showed Morales committed a “fraud” and “an aggression against the good faith of the international community.”

The 66 -year-old former president has also refused to take part in the OAS audit, calling instead for the results given by the electoral court (TSE) to be annulled as a precondition of his co-operation. (AFP)

 

Vanguard

 

 

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