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Iran hails Bolivia’s peaceful elections, return to democracy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of Bolivia's leftist presidential candidate Luis Arce celebrate outside the headquarters of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, after Arce won the country's general election, in La Paz, on October 19, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Iran has praised Bolivia for holding peaceful presidential elections and returning to democracy following a year-long power vacuum caused by the forced resignation of ex-president Evo Morales, saying Tehran is ready to boost friendly relations with La Paz.

The Islamic Republic “congratulates the people of Bolivia and those elected on holding the nationwide elections in a calm atmosphere and with a significant turnout of voters,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Tuesday.

He added that Iran “welcomes the return of democracy and power to the real representatives of the people after a tense year.”

Khatibzadeh also extended Tehran’s congratulations to former economy minister Luis Arce on his victory in the presidential race, noting that Iran “fully supports the elected government and stands ready to revive cooperation and reinforce friendly ties with Bolivia.”

Bolivians cast their ballots in the twice-postponed elections on Sunday, following a year of political and social turmoil.

Officials released no formal count, but rapid counts showed Arce, of Morales’ left-wing Movement for Socialism party (MAS), took more than 50 percent of the votes, with his centrist rival Carlos Mesa on around 30 percent.

Acre claimed victory in the elections, saying, “We have reclaimed democracy and above all we have reclaimed hope.”

He further vowed to end the uncertainty that has plagued his nation since October 2019, when disputed claims of vote rigging against his party resulted in street protests.

Morales was forced to resign in November 2019 under pressure from the military and following the opposition's challenging of the victory that he had secured in presidential elections.

The ex-president, who believes that he was the victim of an orchestrated coup, sought exile in Mexico back then and is currently residing in Argentina.

Morales has said he will soon return to his homeland.

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