Bolivia: Jeanine Anez declares herself interim Prez

Bolivian Senator Jeanine Anez declares herself as Interim President of Bolivia (Reuters Photo)

A deputy speaker of the senate proclaimed herself Bolivia's new interim president Tuesday during a session of Congress that failed to reach a quorum.

Lawmakers had been summoned to formalize Sunday's resignation of Evo Morales and confirm Jeanine Anez, 52, as interim president, to end a power vacuum.

"We want to call new elections as soon as possible," she said in a speech to Congress, with only lawmakers opposed to Morales present. Earlier, in the Senate, she had proclaimed herself president of the upper chamber.

"It's a commitment we have made to the country and of course, we will fulfil it," she said.

Anez, a senator from the northeastern department of Beni, said there was a "need to create a climate of social peace" in the country.

Carlos Mesa, the centrist candidate defeated by Morales in the tainted October 20 presidential elections, tweeted his congratulations after the session.

Powerful opposition figure Luis Fernandez Camacho, a regional leader in the eastern department of Santa Cruz, announced he had lifted strikes and blockades called three weeks ago in protest at Morales' disputed re-election.

Morales, 60, resigned Sunday after weeks of often violent protests following his contested October 20 re-election which monitors from the Organization of American States said was riddled with irregularities.

Anez, second vice-president of the Senate, is constitutionally next-in-line for the presidency after the vice-president and leaders of both houses of Congress resigned along with Morales, leaving a power vacuum in the country.

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