Bolivia’s supreme electoral tribunal has disqualified exiled former President Evo Morales from running for a Senate seat in May’s general election, saying he did not meet residency requirements.
Morales is currently living in exile in Argentina having fled Bolivia in November after resigning as president following three weeks of protests at his controversial re-election in October.
The supreme electoral tribunal (TSE) said Morales’s candidacy for the senate lacked the necessary documentation, but it said that his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party’s presidential candidate, Luis Arce, met the qualification requirements.
“This is a blow to democracy,” Morales tweeted from Buenos Aires about Thursday’s decision.”The members of the TSE (electoral tribunal) know I meet the requirements to be a candidate.”
La decisión del Tribunal Supremo Electoral es un golpe contra la democracia. Los miembros del @TSEBolivia saben que cumplo todos los requisitos para ser candidato. El objetivo final es la proscripción del MAS.
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) February 21, 2020
The country is preparing for a new presidential and government election on May 3.
The former president is orchestrating his party’s election campaign ahead of the vote with his former economy minister Arce at the top of the ticket.
Morales’s party is now facing a fragmented opposition, including current caretaker President Jeanine Anez, who took over in a political vacuum after his resignation last year.
Arce leads the pack of presidential contenders with 31.6 percent of the vote among those who plan to participate in the election, according to a recent survey by pollster Ciesmori.
He is followed by centrist candidate Carlos Mesa with 17.1 percent and Bolivia’s conservative interim leader Jeanine Anez, who has 16.5 percent.
Bolivia’s general election campaign officially began on February 3 and comes on the heels of the October election when results were annulled after an audit by the Organization of American States (OAS) found evidence of vote-rigging in Morales’s favour.