Bolivia Congress rubber stamps November resignation of Evo Morales

LA PAZ (Reuters) – Bolivia’s Congress on Tuesday formally accepted the November resignation of leftist leader Evo Morales and his deputy Álvaro García Linera, rubber stamping the end of his 14-year socialist administration as the South American country heads for new elections in May.

Bolivia’s legislature, controlled by his party, had not yet accepted his resignation. Morales stepped down on Nov. 10, as support from his allies and the military evaporated following a disputed election and widespread protests.

“The letter of resignation has been considered and approved by a majority,” said Sergio Choque, head of the lower Chamber of Deputies. Choque added that the move showed Congress was fulfilling its parliamentary role.

Morales has maintained that he was ousted in a right-wing coup. Since he stepped down, he has noted in some interviews that he was legally still president until lawmakers approved his resignation. He does not plan to run in new elections in May.

In the resignation letter, read out to a packed Congress, the long-standing leader criticized the current government and said it was his responsibility to continue to protect his Bolivian “brothers and sisters”.

Morales left Bolivia days after his resignation and is now in Argentina. From there, he has been active in his Movement for Socialism party’s election campaign ahead of the May. 3 vote.

(Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by David Gregorio)