Bolivia's interim leader Áñez confirms candidacy in election

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivian interim President Jeanine Áñez, who replaced former leader Evo Morales when he left the country, on Friday announced her candidacy in the country's May 3 presidential election.

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When she took office on Nov. 12, Áñez said she her job as interim president would be convoking new elections to replace Morales, though she didn't explicitly rule out running in those elections.

“I have made the decision to present myself as a candidate,” she said. “Taking part in these elections wasn't in my plans, but in recent weeks we were prepared to build a consensus and we haven't achieved one.”

The 52-year-old lawyer postulated her candidacy at an event in which Áñez's Democratic Unity party announced an alliance with the party of La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla.

It was not confirmed that Revilla would be Áñez's running mate, but the mayor said: “My party is going to give her all its support. If she takes a step forward in her candidacy, it will be an honor to accompany her."

Last Sunday, Morales announced that ex-Economy Minister Luis Arce Catacora would be his party's presidential candidate in Bolivia's upcoming presidential election.

Speaking from self-exile in Argentina, Morales said the vice presidential candidate for his Movement To Socialism party would be David Choquehuanca, a former foreign secretary and like Morales a member of Bolivia's Aymara indigenous group.

Morales, who governed Bolivia for nearly 14 years, resigned the presidency in November when the police and army withdrew support after several weeks of demonstrations that erupted over allegations of fraud in the Oct. 20 presidential election that Morales claimed to have won. The Organization of American States said its audit found serious irregularities in the vote count.

An interim government took over after Morales left the country and annulled the October election, scheduled new national elections for May.

“The dispersion of the votes and the presentation of candidacies that did not unite Bolivians led me to make this decision,” Áñez said.