World

Evo Morales's party puts forth new candidate for next Bolivia election

A former foreign minister and a coca farmer will be the candidates for president and vice-president for exiled Bolivian President Evo Morales's political party in the May elections in the South American country, officials said Friday.

Presidential candidate David Choquehuanca was foreign minister in the Morales government

David Choquehuanca, left, is seen in 2016 in La Paz while serving as foreign minister for Bolivia's then-president Evo Morales, right, who is currently in exile after a disputed election result late last year. (David Mercado/Reuters)

A former foreign minister and a coca farmer will be the candidates for president and vice-president for exiled Bolivian President Evo Morales's political party in the May elections in the South American country, officials said Friday.

Former Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca, like Morales an Indigenous Aymara, will be the presidential candidate for the Movement to Socialism (MAS) party in the vote, which will serve as a rerun of a disputed October election.

Coca farmer Andronico Rodriguez will join the ticket as the vice presidential candidate, MAS official and union leader Theodore Mamani confirmed to Reuters.

The ticket must formalize its participation in the election to the electoral tribunal by Feb. 3.

Choquehuanca, 58, is a veteran Indigenous politician who was born in the Bolivian highlands. Rodriguez, 30, is currently vice-president of a prominent coca farmer union in the city of Cochabamba.

Will travel to meet with Morales

Top MAS party officials are scheduled to meet this weekend in Buenos Aires, where Morales, who is barred from running for president again, is currently living under asylum.

Morales, a socialist leader who was at the helm of Bolivia for nearly 14 years, stepped down Nov. 10 after a disputed election victory sparked protests and led to allies, the police and the military pulling their support.

Bolivia's electoral tribunal set May 3 as the date for fresh elections after an Organization of American States audit found serious irregularities in the way votes were counted in the disputed October election.

After initially going to Mexico, Morales arrived in Argentina in December, where he has remained vocal on politics, frequently taking aim through his Twitter account at the caretaker government of interim President Jeanine Áñez.

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