The Latest: UN chief urges restraint for Bolivians

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Evo Morales

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales looks on during a press conference in La Paz, Bolivia, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. Morales is calling for new presidential elections and an overhaul of the electoral system Sunday after a preliminary report by the Organization of American States found irregularities in the Oct. 20 elections. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The latest on the political crisis in Bolivia (all times local):

11:55 p.m.

The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is deeply concerned about the situation in Bolivia, where Evo Morales resigned the presidency Sunday after weeks of protests over a disputed election.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric says in a Spanish-language statement that Guterres “urges all relevant parties to refrain from violence, reduce tensions and exercise maximum restraint.”

Three Bolivians have been killed and more than 100 injured during clashes among opponents and supporters of Morales since the Oct. 20 election, which he claimed to have won.

The statement adds that Guterres urges Bolivians “to commit to seek a peaceful solution to the current crisis and to ensure transparent and credible elections.”

Morales resigned soon after the release of an Organization of American States audit that reported irregularities in the vote count.

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10:40 p.m.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales claims authorities are seeking to arrest him now that he has given up the presidency under pressure after weeks of social unrest over the country’s disputed election.

But a police commander said Sunday night no warrant has been issued for Morales, whose whereabouts are unknown.

In a tweet, Morales said: “I report to the world and Bolivian people that a police officer publicly announced that he has instructions to execute an unlawful apprehension order against me; in addition, violent groups also stormed my home.”

Police Gen. Yuri Calderon says rumors of police seeking to arrest Morales are “fake news.” He says no apprehension order has been issued for Morales.

Armed intruders, however, did break into Morales’ home in Cochabamba.

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9:45 p.m.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he is standing with Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who has abruptly resigned as president amid political turmoil that erupted after his disputed election to a fourth term.

Maduro said Sunday in a nationally broadcast statement via telephone that Morales has fallen victim to the same U.S.-backed plot that seeks to topple him from power and install a right-wing government in Venezuela. The two leftist leaders are long political allies.

Venezuela’s socialist party leaders are calling on Venezuelans to join in a march next Saturday to show solidarity with Morales.

In Maduro’s words: “Let’s go to the street to defend the people’s right to democracy, freedom and socialism.”

Also next Saturday, U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is urging his supporters to demonstrate against Maduro.

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9:20 p.m.

Argentina is urging all political and social actors in Bolivia to keep the peace and engage in dialogue following weeks of unrest over a disputed election that led Bolivian President Evo Morales to resign Sunday.

In a statement, Argentina’s government says calm is needed for Bolivians to navigate the transition to new elections. In its words: “It is imperative that all Bolivian political forces and leaders act at this delicate time with responsibility and restraint.”

The Argentine statement also says Bolivia should work with its regional neighbors as well as impartial international groups and observers to ensure a transparent election.

Morales resigned soon after the release of an Organization of American States audit that found irregularities in Oct. 20 presidential election.

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9 p.m.

The U.S. State Department says American officials are monitoring events in Bolivia following the surprise resignation of President Evo Morales and several other top officials after weeks of sometimes violent protests over the disputed presidential election.

Morales stepped down hours after the Organization of American States released report outlining irregularities in the Oct. 20 election.

In a statement Sunday night, the department says: “We urge the OAS to send a mission to Bolivia to oversee the new electoral process and to ensure that the new Electoral Tribunal is truly independent and reflects a broad swath of Bolivian society. The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections.”

The statement also urges Bolivians to refrain from further violence. Clashes between Morales’ supporters and opponents have left three dead and over 100 injured.

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8:50 p.m.

Mexico’s foreign minister says 20 members of Bolivia’s executive and legislative branches are at the official Mexican residence in the capital seeking asylum following Sunday’s resignation of Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Marcelo Ebrard also says on Twitter that Mexico would offer asylum to Morales if should ask for it. There is no indication that Morales has done that.

Also via Twitter, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he recognizes the “responsible attitude of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who preferred to resign rather than expose his people to violence.”

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8:20 p.m.

Bolivian police say they have detained the former president and vice president of the Supreme Electoral Court following release of an Organization of American States audit that found irregularities in Oct. 20 presidential election.

The announcement Sunday came hours after President Evo Morales announced his resignation under growing pressure amid allegations of fraud in the vote count.

Police commander Yuri Calderón says 36 other officials of the electoral body also have been detained on suspicion of falsification and other electoral crimes. Calderón says former court president Maria Eugenia Choque was apprehended while dressed to look like a man.

The attorney general’s office earlier announced that it was opening an investigation into allegations raised by the OAS report.

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7:30 p.m.

Mexico’s foreign secretary is criticizing the Bolivian military for getting involved in events that preceded Sunday’s resignation by Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Marcelo Ebrard says that “there is a military operation going on, and we reject it.”

Morales announced his resignation Sunday soon after Bolivia’s military commander called on him to resign amid unrest over allegations of fraud in the country’s Oct. 20 presidential election.

Going on Twitter, Ebrard said:”Mexico will maintain its position of respect for democracy and institutions. Coup no.”

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5:15 p.m.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced his resignation, seeking to calm the country after weeks of unrest over a disputed election that he had claimed to win.

He made the move Sunday hours after the Organization of American States called for a new a presidential election, citing irregularities in the Oct. 20 vote.

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4:45 p.m.

The head of Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal has resigned after an audit of the Oct. 20 presidential election concluded there were irregularities in the vote.

The tribunal president, María Eugenia Choque, announced her resignation on Sunday.

A preliminary report by the Organization of American States found a “heap of observed irregularities” in the presidential contest and said a new vote should be held.

The attorney general’s office in Bolivia then said it would investigate the judges on the electoral tribunal.

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4 p.m.

Bolivia’s military chief says that President Evo Morales should resign so that stability can be restored after weeks of protests over his disputed election.

Speaking on national television, Gen. Williams Kaliman also appealed to Bolivians to desist from violence.

He stepped in after Morales agreed earlier in the day to hold a new election.

Morales’ claim to have won a fourth term last month has triggered fraud allegations, deadly protests and a split among security forces.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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