Bolivia’s political crisis deepened as the country’s military chief called on President Evo Morales to resign after his re-election victory set off weeks of fraud allegations and deadly violence.
The appeal from Gen Williams Kaliman came after Mr Morales, under mounting pressure, agreed earlier in the day to hold a new presidential election.
“After analysing the situation of internal conflict, we ask the president to resign, allowing peace to be restored and stability to be maintained for the good of our Bolivia,” Mr Kaliman said on national television.
He also appealed to Bolivians to desist from violence.
Mr Morales’ claim to have won a fourth term last month has plunged the country into the biggest crisis of the socialist leader’s nearly 14 years in power.
The unrest has left three people dead and over 100 injured in clashes between his supporters and opponents.
Mr Morale agreed to a new election after a preliminary report by the Organisation of American States found a “heap of observed irregularities” in the October 20 election and said a new vote should be held.
“We all have to pacify Bolivia,” Mr Morales said in announcing plans to replace the nation’s electoral tribunal and urging the country’s political parties to help bring peace.
Bolivians honked car horns and broke into cheers and applause in the streets as the OAS findings came out.
Adding to the leadership crisis, however, the two government ministers in charge of mines and hydrocarbons, as well as the Chamber of Deputies president and three other pro-government legislators announced their resignations. Some said opposition supporters had threatened their families.
Also on Sunday, the attorney general’s office said it will investigate judges on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for alleged fraud following the OAS report.
The man Mr Morales claimed to have defeated, opposition leader and former president Carlos Mesa, said the OAS report showed “monstrous fraud,” and he added that Mr Morales “can’t be a candidate in new elections”.
Mr Morales did not say whether he will run again.