Since Oct. 20, 2019 Bolivia’s capital La Paz has seen its largest protests in decades against Bolivia’s first indigenous President Evo Morales for what is increasingly seen as an erosion of democratic values. Morales has held power in Bolivia since 2006, a 13 year reign which makes him Latin America’s longest serving leader. His time in office has yielded significant economic growth in South America’s poorest nation. In 2009, Morales introduced a new constitution that lifted the ban on term limits allowing himself to run for four terms as president. Bolivians are now furious over what has been seen as election rigging by leftist president Evo Morales to take his narrow lead to an outright first round win against his rival Carlos Mesa. To win the presidency in Bolivia a candidate needs 50 percent of the vote, as of late Tuesday Morales had 46.46 percent and Mesa 37.04 percent. With a 24 hour pause in vote tallying which then saw Morales suddenly ahead by 10 points and declaring victory sparked the current outcry. The Organization of American States, have raised concern over the ballot count, and have agreed to conduct an audit of the election results. Morales who should not even be eligible for a fourth five year term, now faces strong backlash as protests enter their second week.
After weeks of protests President Evo Morales resigned the presidency after the military called for him to step down. Morales then fled to Mexico seeking asylum from what he and his supporters deem a coup against him by the military and opposition headed by interim President Jeanine Añez. Supporters of Evo Morales have since begun protesting against interim President Añez, claiming she will take away the rights of the indigenous population of Bolivia which had been gained under Morales. Many indigenous Bolivians have begun protesting for Morales to return, setting up roadblocks around the capital La Paz and leading demonstrations to the presidential palace.