SANTIAGO (Reuters) - An Americas regional forum on Wednesday published details of “deliberate” and “malicious” steps to rig Bolivia’s October election in favor of then President Evo Morales, who has resigned and left the Andean nation in political crisis.
A nearly 100 page report by the Organization of American States (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’ 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, a major breakthrough in the political crisis.
Interim President Jeanine Anez, a former conservative lawmaker, has also pledged new elections.
At least 30 people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces since the Oct. 20 election. Most have died since Morales stepped down on Nov. 10.
Reporting by Dave Sherwood; editing by Grant McCool