LA PAZ (Reuters) – The government of Bolivian President Evo Morales on Tuesday asked an official observer of the country’s disputed presidential election to conduct an audit of a binding vote count after an official quick tally showing him winning sparked a backlash and violent street protests.
The observer, the Organization of American States (OAS), had raised concerns after the electoral board’s quick count of votes was abruptly halted on Sunday when Morales appeared to be heading for a run-off with chief rival against Carlos Mesa.
Count - Outcry - Day - Morales - Lead
When the quick count resumed amid an outcry a day later, Morales had eked out enough of a lead to win outright in the first-round, a change the OAS said had “drastically modified the fate of the election” and hurt confidence in the process.
The OAS, made up of states in the Western Hemisphere, convened a special meeting for Wednesday to discuss the matter.
Minister - Diego - Pary - Play - Press
Foreign Minister Diego Pary denied foul play and announced in a press conference on Tuesday that he had invited the OAS to audit “the whole process of the official vote.”
Pary added that the OAS and concerned foreign governments such as the United States were welcome to monitor the rest of the official count, which by the time he spoke had advanced to more than 80%, with Morales carrying 44% of ballots and Mesa 40%.
Winner - % - % - Lead - December
The winner needs more than 50% or 40% plus a 10-point lead to avoid a December 15 run-off.
“Whatever the result may be, we as the government are going to accept it,” Pary told a news conference. “Transparency is important.”
Comments - Tone - Morales - Speech - Election
The comments marked a much softer tone from Morales’ speech after the election on Sunday, when he said he was sure outstanding votes from rural areas would give him an outright win, even though the official quick tally...
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