The Organization of American States (OAS) has described “deliberate” and “malicious” steps to rig Bolivia’s October election in favor of the then president, Evo Morales, who was forced to resign amid widespread protests in the Andean nation.
A nearly 100-page report by the OAS described several violations, including the use of a hidden computer server designed to tilt the vote toward Morales.
A charismatic leftist and Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Morales stood for president despite a 2016 referendum that voted down a proposal to allow him to run for a fourth consecutive term. A court packed with loyalists gave him a green light to run indefinitely.
“Given the overwhelming evidence we have found, we can confirm a series of malicious operations aimed at altering the will of the voters,” the OAS report said.
OAS findings included “deliberate actions to manipulate the result of the election” that make it “impossible to validate” the official results, the report said.
Morales fled to Mexico shortly after the OAS’s initial report in early November. He described the allegations of vote rigging as a political hit, saying the OAS was “in the service of the North American empire”.
Bolivia’s congress in late November passed legislation to annul the contested elections and pave the way for a new vote without Morales.
The interim president, Jeanine Áñez, a former conservative lawmaker, has also pledged new elections.
At least 30 people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces since the 20 October election. Most have died since Morales stepped down on 10 November.