January 29, 2020 / 12:10 AM / 2 months ago

Bolivia's Anez reshuffles cabinet after backlash

Bolivia's interim President Jeanine Anez looks on after she announced her new cabinet members, in La Paz, Bolivia January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Andrea Martinez

LA PAZ (Reuters) - Bolivia’s interim President Jeanine Anez reshuffled her cabinet on Tuesday, including replacing a rebel minister who had called her controversial decision to run in upcoming elections a “betrayal” of the caretaker government’s remit.

Anez unveiled her new cabinet after her ministers had all resigned at her request. However, all but three were reinstated in a ceremony at the government palace where the President played down talk of crisis.

“This adjustment in the cabinet was necessary to be absolutely sure that all members of the team working together are committed to an honest and transparent management for the good of all Bolivians,” she said.

The conservative former senator, who became president amid a power vacuum last year after the resignation of Evo Morales, sparked criticism from allies and opponents when she announced her intention to be a candidate in the May 3 vote.

The three ministries reshuffled were those of rural development, education and communication.

Bolivia has been gripped by political turmoil since October when a disputed election led to widespread protests that eventually toppled leftist leader Morales. Anez took the interim president role after Morales and others in his party resigned.

The former Minister of Communication, Roxana Lizárraga, had criticized Anez, who she said was surrounded by a “small group of politicians” that was seeking to remain in power instead of guaranteeing the neutrality of the caretaker government.

“We assumed power originally to recover democracy, so that we could get to new elections,” she said, adding that Anez’s candidacy betrayed the widespread popular uprising against Morales after the Oct. 20 election that led to his resignation.

Reporting by Daniel Ramos in La Paz; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Richard Pullin

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