December 22, 2019 / 2:50 AM / a month ago

Boliva's ex-president Morales plans party rally on Argentina border

La Paz (Reuters) - Bolivian former President Evo Morales on Saturday appealed for his supporters to attend a rally on the border between Argentina and Bolivia on Dec. 29 to choose a candidate for Bolivia’s election early next year.

FILE PHOTO: Former Bolivian President Evo Morales leaves after giving a news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

In an interview with Argentine radio, Morales, who has sought political asylum in Argentina, said he had called the meeting of the Movement for Socialism party, which he helmed for 14 years as president.

“We will choose our candidate with a view to the upcoming elections in Bolivia,” Morales told Radio La Network.

An October vote to pick a new president, vice president and some national legislators was annulled because of serious irregularities detected by an international audit.

The vote-rigging scandal forced Morales to resign and leave Bolivia in mid-November.

This week, lawmakers appointed a six-member electoral tribunal, which is expected to set a date by Jan. 2 for new elections within 120 days.

The ex-president did not report the place of the meeting, but the local press suggested it could take place in the cities of Oran or Salvador Mazza, in the province of Salta, about 1,300 kilometers (808 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires.

Morales said the Argentine government had agreed to provide security for the event.

The indigenous leader has been a staying in Argentina since Dec. 12, after he left Mexico, where he fled to after resigning from the presidency and under pressure from the armed forces.

The former coca farmer won a fourth consecutive term in the Oct. 20 election and claimed he was ousted in a coup d’etat.

Bolivian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant against him on Wednesday for the crimes of sedition, terrorism and terrorist financing, promoted by the government of Jeanine Áñez, a former senator and opponent of Morales who stepped in as interim president in November.

Morales has ruled out running as a candidate himself and has named Luis Arce Catacora, his former economy minister, and Andronico Rodriguez, a key coca farmer union boss, as potential MAS presidential candidates.

Reporting by Lucila Sigal; writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Dan Grebler

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