Dáil debates

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Presidential Elections

5:45 pm

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

As the Deputy will be aware, the elections that took place in Bolivia on 20 October 2019 were followed by reports of violence and excessive force by the authorities and the situation there remains very fluid and uncertain, as the Deputy referenced. Ireland supports the EU statement released on 24 October on the electoral process, which underlined the expectation that the Bolivian Government and electoral authorities would resolve the situation in a manner that respects the people's will, upholds the credibility of the electoral process and preserves social stability.

On 10 November, the Organization of American States released its preliminary report indicating that it had found clear irregularities and could not verify the result of the 20 October elections. That organisation had been asked to look at the process by President Morales. It concluded that it was unlikely that Mr. Morales had won by the required 10% margin and recommended that a new electoral commission be set up before convening fresh elections.

On 10 November, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini issued a further statement, which Ireland supports. The statement said that a new electoral court should be appointed that could offer guarantees of transparent elections. It also called on all parties, particularly the authorities, to assume their democratic responsibilities and take the appropriate decisions to allow quick reconciliation and avoid further violence.

The Deputy will be aware of the latest reports from Bolivia that President Morales has now resigned his post in an effort to help restore stability.

I understand he has accepted Mexico's offer of political asylum. Developments in Bolivia are still unfolding and the situation remains unpredictable. Following the announcement of the President's resignation on 10 November, there were reports of further demonstrations and looting across Bolivia. A number of high-ranking officials, including the Vice President, the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the President of the Senate, have resigned. According to the Bolivian Constitution, the next in line of authority is the Vice President of the Senate. The Bolivian Constitution further provides that in the case of the President and Vice President both resigning, new elections must be held within 90 days. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to monitor developments closely. We will continue to consult our EU partners in responding to events as they develop.


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