The inauguration of the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, has meant this Sunday the return of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) of Evo Morales to power, after a year in which the country had a transitory government harshly criticized by the new president.
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Arce has been invested in a ceremony at the Legislative Palace in La Paz before leaders such as King Felipe VI, Vice President Pablo Iglesias and the presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernández; from Colombia, Iván Duque; and from Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez.
Arce, who was Minister of Economy for twelve of the nearly fourteen years of Evo Morales’ government, has sworn in with his hand on his heart, while his vice president, Aymara David Choquehuanca, has done so with his left fist raised , the signal that identifies MAS.
Arce was elected with 55.1% of the vote in the general elections of October 18, which were repeated a year after the annulment of those that had then given Evo Morales the winner for a fourth consecutive term, amid allegations of fraud in his favor that he denies.
He accuses the previous government of sowing “death”
The new president has attacked in his speech against the interim Executive of Jeanine Áñez, whom he has branded as a “de facto government” and has accused of trampling democracy, sowing “death, fear, discrimination” and persecuting politicians and syndicalists related to the MAS, including “paramilitary” groups.
The then opposition senator Áñez assumed power on November 12, 2019, after Morales announced his resignation, denounced as being forced by pressure from the military and the police, among others.
Arce has mentioned, among its main challenges, the economic recovery. The president has warned that the country is suffering a deep recession not only due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, but also because of what he has considered a terrible management of the outgoing government.
Choquehuanca has been more conciliatory in his speech, in which he has advocated recovering cultural roots, seeking coincidences with the opposition and that there is no longer “more abuse of power.”
Protest and opposition criticism
The act has been colored by the protest of the main opposition group in the Bolivian Parliament, the Citizen Community (CC) of the former president and former candidate Carlos Mesa, against a change in the Legislative regulation that they consider favors the MAS and limits the opposition .
The legislators of CC have demonstrated in full ceremony with placards that demanded “No to the abuse of power! Two thirds is democracy”, to later withdraw from Parliament with Mesa, amid shouts and insults from the ruling party.
The protest responds to the “absolutely arrogant and unacceptable attitude of the MAS that, taking advantage of the closure of the previous legislature, has modified the regulations of the two Chambers,” said Mesa.
In the recent general elections, the MAS achieved a parliamentary majority, but was unable to revalidate the two-thirds it held in the last two legislative periods. The outgoing parliamentarians changed the regulations so that the Legislature can approve with a simple majority matters such as the promotion of military and police positions, or the appointment of ambassadors. The MAS justified that the modifications seek to speed up legislative work, but the opposition considers that it was a maneuver to maintain control in the Assembly.