The head of Bolivia's Senate declares herself interim president

Photo: EPA Jeanine Anez (C) greets supporters, La Paz, 12 November.

Jeanine Anez, the head of Bolivia's Senate, took office as interim president on Tuesday, invoking a constitutional clause that dictates that she would be next in line to rule the country after Evo Morales and his vice president Alvaro Garcia resigned two days ago. Meanwhile, the former president pledged to keep up his political fight from exile in Mexico.

Anez, 52, a right-wing opponent of Morales, assumed leadership before other lawmakers in Congress. A parliamentary session scheduled to formally appoint her was boycotted by lawmakers from Morales' leftist MAS party, who said it would be illegitimate.

It was unclear if the move would quell unrest in the capital La Paz and other cities unleashed by Morales' disputed bid for a fourth term. His resignation came after the Organization of American States (OAS) declared there were serious irregularities during the October 20 election, prompting political allies to quit and the army to urge him to step down.

Morales called Anez's move to replace him part of "the most cunning and disastrous coup in history." Earlier on Tuesday, he thanked Mexico for saving his life as he arrived to take up asylum in the country, repeating his accusation that his rivals had ousted him in a coup. "As long as I am alive, we will remain in politics. As long as I am alive, the fight continues," Morales told reporters after disembarking from the plane. He was met by Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

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