Bolivia prosecutors order arrest of ex-President Evo Morales

The former president – now in Argentina – called the arrest warrant ‘unfair, illegal and unconstitutional’.

Evo Morales
Morales has denied the charges, saying his resignation was brought about by a 'coup' [File: David Mercado/Reuters]

Bolivian prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for former President Evo Morales for alleged sedition and terrorism related to accusations from the interim government that he has been stirring unrest in the country, Luis Fernando Guarachi, the head of the Bolivian police’s Public Corruption Division, confirmed on Wednesday. 

Interior Minister Arturo Murillo recently brought up charges against Morales, alleging he promoted violent clashes that led to 35 deaths during disturbances before and after he left office in November.

Morales has repeatedly denied the charges and describes the events leading to his resignation as a “coup”.

“After 14 years of our revolution, the ‘best gift’ that I’ve received from the de facto government is the unjust, illegal and unconstitutional arrest warrant,” Morales tweeted after the warrant was announced. “It doesn’t scare me, as long as I have life, I will continue with more force in the political and ideological fight for a free and sovereign Bolivia.”

Officials say Morales ordered supporters to blockade cities in an attempt to topple the interim government of Jeanine Anez, who took over after Morales resigned in November under pressure from security forces and anti-government protests. His resignation followed an Organization of American States audit that found serious irregularities in the way votes were counted in the October 20 election.

On Wednesday, Murillo, a member of Anez’s government, tweeted a picture of what appeared to be the arrest warrant for Morales.

Morales fled Bolivia for Mexico before travelling to Argentina, where he was granted refugee status on December 12.

The former president said on Tuesday that he would campaign for the presidential candidate of his Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party in elections expected within the next few months, though no date has been set.

The MAS candidate is yet to be chosen, and neither the former president nor his vice president cannot run in the new elections. 

Morales retains a strong following in Bolivia and has an ally in the government of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, who took office two days before the former Bolivian leader arrived in the country.

Bolivia‘s interim government has expressed concern that Morales could use Buenos Aires as a campaign headquarters and might plot his return home.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies