Timeline: Bolivia's political crisis

·3-min read
Former interim Bolivian president Jeanine Anez (C) is arrested as part of a probe into a coup plot

Since the contested re-election of President Evo Morales in October 2019 until the arrest of ex-interim president Jeanine Anez on Saturday, here are the key events that marked Bolivia's political crisis.

- Contested vote -

On October 20, 2019, leftist Morales, the country's first indigenous head of state and who has held power since 2006, runs for a fourth term, despite his attempt at re-election being rejected in a referendum in 2016.

After provisional results show him winning in the first round, the opposition claims fraud and protests break out in the streets. On October 25, Morales is declared the winner with 47.08% of the vote, ahead of centrist Carlos Mesa, with a ten-point advantage that allows him to win the election in the first round.

The opposition and part of the international community demand a second round.

- Morales resigns -

On November 10, after weeks of demonstrations and lacking support of the police and the army, Morales resigns. He goes into exile in Mexico and then Argentina.

Riots break out in La Paz and El Alto. On November 12, the second vice president of the Senate, opposition leader Jeanine Anez, is proclaimed interim president. Morales denounces a coup.

New elections are set for May 3, 2020.

- Terrorism probe -

On December 5, the Organization of American States (OAS) concludes that the October presidential election had been "deliberately rigged."

On December 18th, the prosecutor's office issues an arrest warrant for Morales as part of an investigation into sedition and terrorism.

On January 8, 2020, the interim government announces corruption investigations against 600 former members of the Morales executive and officials of state-owned companies during Morales' presidency.

- New elections -

Morales announces his former economy minister, Luis Arce, considered the father of the Bolivian "economic miracle", would be the candidate of his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party.

On January 25, Anez causes tensions by declaring herself a candidate, despite having promised otherwise. Carlos Mesa, Luis Fernando Camacho and former president Jorge Quiroga are also scheduled to run.

In March, Bolivia goes into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the presidential elections are postponed.

- Protests and delays -

In May, protests by pro-Morales farmer and indigenous unions increase, demanding a relaxation of health measures and a date for the elections.

In June, the elections are set for September 6, following an agreement between parties.

On July 6, the attorney general accuses Morales of terrorism, calling again for his arrest. On July 23, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) again postponed the elections, to October 18, due to coronavirus cases.

MAS leaders threaten to launch a "permanent mobilization" in the absence of elections on September 6. Two days later, thousands of Morales supporters staged protests in El Alto.

In mid-August, the date of the elections is confirmed for October 18.

- Morales return -

In mid-September, Jeanine Anez retires from the presidential race. Luis Arce wins the presidential elections in the first round. Morales' successor is proclaimed new president on October 23 after having obtained 55.10% of the vote.

On November 8, he officially becomes the new president, and Morales returns to Bolivia a day later.

- Arrest of Anez -

On March 12, 2021, the Bolivian prosecutor's office issues an arrest warrant against Anez and several of her former ministers for "sedition" and "terrorism", as part of an investigation into an alleged coup in the fall of Morales.

Anez is arrested on March 13. Several of her former ministers were also charged with sedition, terrorism and conspiracy.

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