Evo Morales's party names election runners for Bolivian vote

Morales may still have to approve David Choquehaunca and Andronico Rodriguez after describing them as 'pre-candidates'.

    David Choquehuanca served as Evo Morales's foreign minister from 2006 to 2017 [File: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]
    David Choquehuanca served as Evo Morales's foreign minister from 2006 to 2017 [File: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]

    The party of exiled former Bolivian President Evo Morales has named the candidates for its ticket in the country's May elections, which will serve as a rerun of a fiercely disputed October vote.

    Former Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, a member of the Aymara indigenous group, was picked as the Movement for Socialism (MAS)'s presidential candidate, while coca farmer Andronico Rodriguez will join the race as the vice-presidential candidate, party official and union leader Theodore Mamani confirmed to Reuters news agency on Friday.

    He added that the selection was made a day earlier by party consensus.

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    The choice may need to be rubber-stamped by Morales himself, despite Bolivia's first indigenous president currently being in exile in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires.

    Later on Friday, Morales tweeted a document saying the two were "pre-candidates" along with two more of his close allies - Luis Arce Catacora and Diego Pary Rodriguez.

    The party leader, who is barred from running for president again, posted a photo of himself with the pre-candidates, minus Rodriguez who Morales said could not attend the meeting for security reasons.

    Andronico Rodriguez
    Andronico Rodriguez, 30, is the vice president of a prominent coca farmer union [File: Danilo Balderrama/Reuters]

    Senior MAS party officials are scheduled to meet this weekend in Buenos Aires.

    The ticket must formalise its participation in the election to the electoral tribunal by February 3.

    TRANSLATION: Today, in Buenos Aires, meeting with my pre-candidate brothers, we have signed the Agreement for the unity and strengthening of MAS-IPSP. 

    Choquehuanca, 58, is a veteran indigenous politician who was born in the Bolivian highlands. Rodriguez, 30, is vice president of a prominent coca farmer union in the city of Cochabamba. 

    Morales, a socialist icon who led Bolivia for nearly 14 years, stepped down on November 10 after a disputed election victory sparked protests and led to allies, the police and the military pulling their support.

    The country has since been under the stewardship of a controversial interim government led by former Senator Jeanine Anez. 

    Bolivia's electoral tribunal set May 3 as the date for fresh elections after an Organization of American States (OAS) audit found serious irregularities in the way votes were counted in the disputed October election.

    After initially going to Mexico, Morales arrived in Argentina in December, where he has remained vocal on politics, frequently taking aim through his Twitter account at Anez's government.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies