Morales announces candidates for MAS party in Bolivia’s elections


BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Former Bolivian leader Evo Morales announced from Argentina on Sunday the candidates for his socialist party in Bolivia’s May 3 elections, which will serve as a re-run of the disputed October vote and be the first in some two decades without him.


Speaking at a news conference in Buenos Aires, Morales named his former economy minister Luis Arce Catacora as the Movement to Socialism’s (MAS) presidential candidate, with former foreign minister David Choquehuanca as his running mate.

Morales unveiled the ticket after meeting at the weekend with senior MAS party officials who travelled to the Argentine capital, where Morales is living after accepting an offer of asylum. He is barred from running for president again.

The names differed from a ticket announced on Friday by MAS officials in La Paz, which had Choquehuanca, an Aymara Indian, as the party’s presidential candidate.

At the time, a party official said the ticket – including Morales disciple and coca farmer Andronico Rodriguez as vice presidential candidate – was the result of party consensus.

But later on Friday Morales wrote on Twitter that the pair were just “pre-candidates” along with two of his close allies: Catacora and another former foreign minister, Diego Pary Rodriguez.

Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, resigned on Nov. 10 after a disputed election victory in October sparked protests and an Organization of American States audit found serious irregularities in the vote count.

After initially going to Mexico, he arrived in December in Argentina, where he has remained vocal about Bolivian politics and his party’s participation in the upcoming elections.

(Reporting by Horacio Soria; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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