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The chief of the Bolivian army urges Morales to withdraw



  Evo Morales Copyright
AFP

Caption of images

President Evo Morales denies allegations of misconduct after weeks of protests.

Bolivia's army chief has called on President Evo Morales to step down amid protests following his contested re-election last month.

The call comes hours after Mr Morales agreed to call new elections after international observers convened.

The election monitoring organization OAS found "clear manipulation".

Mr Morales denied wrongdoing and previous calls for his resignation.

Gen. Williams Kaliman told reporters Sunday: "After analyzing the conflicting internal situation, we ask the president to resign his presidential term in order to allow calm and preserve stability for the good of our Bolivia."

He added that the military had ordered "air and ground operations to neutralize armed groups operating outside the law."

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Opposition leader Carlos Mesa ̵

1; who came in second in the poll last month – also called on Mr Morales and his vice president to be excluded from the new elections.

"If you have a jot of patriotism, you have to back down," Mr Mesa told a news conference.

Mr Morales was already under increasing pressure on Sunday, with several political allies resigning, some of whom cited fears about the safety of their families.

What did the SLA say?

In its preliminary report Sunday, the SLA said it had discovered "clear manipulations" of the voting system in Bolivia and could not confirm the outcome of the race on October 20.

Copyright
Reuters

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Protesters went to La Paz on Saturday with the inscription: "Resistance to dictatorship"

During the audit, he stated that he had discovered physical records with changes and forged signatures and evidence of large-scale manipulation of data.

The international body concluded that it was unlikely that Mr Morales would win with the 10% margin needed to win. He recommended that a new electoral commission be set up before new elections could be held.

How did Mr. Morales respond?

The president was first elected in 2006.

In his message Sunday, he said that the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TES) would be re-drafted before the poll, with parliament electing its members.

The Attorney-General of Bolivia has already ordered an investigation into the behavior of TES members.

Mr Morales, who is Bolivia's first indigenous president, told reporters that he had made the decision "to reduce all tension".


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