Political polarization marks 196th anniversary of Bolivia independence

La Paz, Aug 6 (EFE).- Political divisions and social tension dragging on since 2019 marked 196 years of Bolivia independence Friday.

The polarization was more evident in the country’s parliament between those who say that electoral fraud in 2019 triggered the political crisis and those accused of an alleged coup in that year when former leader Evo Morales lost power.

President Luis Arce addressed the parliament during a special session to mark 196 years of independence of the South American nation.

Among those who attended the session were former president Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé, diplomatic corps, and representatives of social organizations related to the government.

Arce referred to the interim government of then-President Jeanine Áñez, who assumed the presidency after Morales resigned in November 2019 following weeks of protests against his re-election to an unconstitutional fourth term.

Jeanine took power as she was the highest-ranking government official who did not step down.

Arce accused her interim government of causing a crisis, insisting that it was a “coup” and that her government formation was “unconstitutional and illegitimate.”

He vowed to punish those behind the alleged coup.

“We will not rest … to demand the prosecution and punishment of the those responsible for the coup d’état. They must answer to courts for the illegal, illegitimate and violent acts,” Arce said.

The phrase “coup d’etat” provoked an angry reaction from the opposition.

They responded with electoral fraud allegations and called the president a “liar” and “puppet.”

Arce kept mum when treasury and opposition benches traded accusations, throwing the house into chaos.

The ruling party lawmaker flashed posters accusing the opposition of toppling the Morales government that had returned to power after the elections marred by fraud allegations.

Centrist Carlos Mesa, a former president, criticized Arce for not keeping his promise of building peace and reconciliation.

Mesa accused the ruling party of inventing “parallel truths” and demanded the government guarantee independence of the judiciary.

The independence day celebrations were modest and restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic. EFE


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