Bolivia’s new leadership attempts to calm political waters

World Today

This week a military parade was held in La Paz in honor of President Jeanine Ãnez, as is the tradition in Bolivia for any new head of state.

But for some the images of the new President embracing senior military leaders were uncomfortable.

President Ãnez is an interim leader. And she is in office largely thanks to the armed forces, which earlier this month withdrew its support for her predecessor, Evo Morales.

CGTN’s Stephne Gibbs reports.

Morales resigned and fled the country on Nov. 11, following weeks of turmoil in the wake of presidential elections, that he was accused of rigging.

Opponents of the new government talk of a coup – arguing Evo Morales was ousted illegally.

Morales’ critics said the President resigned and made his own decision to leave Bolivia for Mexico.

Either way, it is all change in this landlocked country, which has made a sharp political shift from left to right.

The new government has moved fast on foreign affairs. It has broken ties with Venezuela’s leftist government and said it will renew diplomatic relations with Israel, which were broken by Evo Morales in 2009.

Most of Morales’ ministerial team has left the country. An entirely new cabinet has been appointed by President Ãnez.

The unusually abrupt transfer of power has caused some technical complications.

“Here we don’t even know what our [oil and gas] reserves are. In the ministry of hydrocarbons, that is our reality”, said Víctor Hugo Zamora, Bolivia’s Hydrocarbon Minister, in an interview with CGTN.

Normally he would ask his predecessor for such basic information – but the ex-minister’s whereabouts are unknown.

The new government insists it is restoring the constitutional order, ahead of a presidential vote which will be held within four months. An agreement has been made with Morales’s socialist MAS party that Evo Morales cannot be a candidate.

Juan Cárdenas, a member of the MAS party, said no decision has yet been made as to who will be its candidate.

He regrets there is no obvious successor.

“In reality this is one of the errors that all the leftist movements in Latin America have made: not having a substitute, an immediate successor, that can continue the path that the leader began”, he said.