Carlos Valdez reports for AP News:
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivia is being wracked by its biggest protests in decades following a disputed Oct. 20 election in which President Evo Morales declared himself the outright winner of a fourth consecutive term, avoiding the need for a runoff vote against his top rival. Allegations of fraud by the opposition have fed weeks of sometimes violent protests, which Morales has called an attempted coup after what he says was a fair election. Here’s a look at how Bolivia got to this point.
WHY HAS MORALES’ ROAD TO RE-ELECTION BEEN CONTROVERSIAL?
Morales, a former coca-growers union leader and Bolivia’s first indigenous president, first took office Jan. 22, 2006. He formed a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution that was approved in a 2009 referendum. Among the changes in the new charter was allowing the president one consecutive re-election. Morales’ term as president was to have run from 2006 to 2011, but he called an early election for Dec. 6, 2009, on the grounds that the Andean nation was being refounded with the reformed constitution. He easily won that vote.