Camacho, a leader in Bolivian protests, to seek presidency

AFP reports for Yahoo News:

La Paz (AFP) – Luis Fernando Camacho, a leading force behind the ouster of Bolivian president Evo Morales, on Saturday announced his own plans to seek the presidency.

In a statement, the 40-year-old Camacho formally declared his candidacy for the “next national elections,” which have yet to be scheduled.

Camacho, a deeply conservative opposition leader in the prosperous eastern Santa Cruz region, had joined with other key opposition figures in demanding Morales’s resignation.

Morales resigned on November 10 and fled the country a day later to take refuge in Mexico, amid swelling protests over what political opponents said was his rigging of October 20 elections.

In his statement, Camacho said he wanted to ensure that Morales “and his leadership of henchmen never govern again” and that the Bolivian people “no longer be excluded from public decisions.”

Camacho had previously denied any interest in the presidency.

Bolivian election law requires that a party or a coalition present its candidates; it is not known under which political banner Camacho would seek the nation’s highest office.

After Morales’s departure, the interim government called for new general elections, but no date has been set as the Electoral Tribunal charged with overseeing voting is still being formed.

There has been speculation of an electoral alliance between Camacho and another civic leader, Marco Pumari from the southern department of Potosi, who made common cause during the unrest that prompted Morales to flee after losing the backing of the military and police.

Known for his aggressive and religious rhetoric, Camacho led anti-Morales protests in Santa Cruz before heading to La Paz with the announced intention of delivering a resignation letter for Morales to sign.

Morales supporters temporarily blocked him at the airport. But Camacho went on to form important political alliances in La Paz.

Others who have announced their intention to run in the elections are former president Carlos Mesa, who placed second in the disputed October 20 elections, and evangelist and politician Chi Hyung Chung.

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

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