Violent clashes between security forces and demonstrators broke out again on Tuesday night in Bolivia’s capital, rounding off a full day of nationwide unrest following controversy over Sunday’s presidential elections.
Riot police guarding the country’s National Electoral Court clashed with opponents of President Evo Morales after electoral authorities announced that a resumed vote count could put the leader close to avoiding a runoff in his bid for a fourth term.
Tensions rose when officials abruptly stopped releasing results from the official quick count of votes, hours after the polls closed Sunday.
The last numbers released before Monday night had showed Morales topping the eight other candidates, but also falling several percentage points short of the percentage needed to avoid the first runoff in his nearly 14 years in power.
Twenty-four hours later, the body suddenly released an updated figure, with 95% of votes counted, showing Morales just 0.7 percentage point short of the 10-percentage point advantage needed to avoid a runoff.
That set off an uproar among the opposition and expressions of concern by international monitors.
Morales’ opponents burned election offices and ballots in several cities and called for a strike Wednesday, accusing the leftist leader of trying to avoid a December runoff in which he would confront a united opposition.
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