(FILE) File photo dated March 21, 2023, of former Bolivian President Evo Morales while participating in the III World Forum on Human Rights, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. EFE/Matias Martín Campaya

Evo Morales confirms candidacy for 2025 and says he was “forced” to do so

La Paz, Sep 24 (EFE).- Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales confirmed Sunday his candidacy for the 2025 presidential elections and said he was “forced” to make this decision, for which he will “battle” amid the internal division of the ruling party, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).

“They have convinced me that I am going to be a candidate. They have forced me, of course, the people want it, but they are forcing me against Evo, the right wing, the government, the empire”, said Morales in his program on the local radio station Kawsachun Coca.

The MAS leader added that there is a “dirty” campaign against him since the opposition calls him a “drug trafficker.” Still, the government of President Luis Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca point him out as the “king of cocaine,” so these situations “forced” him to be a candidate and to “battle.”

“We are not going to give up, and we are going to be in this hard democratic battle. To build proposals, I have a meeting with business people. I welcome proposals. We have to build the post-bicentennial agenda,” said Morales.

The former president regretted that Arce, who was his Minister of Economy during his government, had not advanced “nothing at all” of the agenda they made with 13 pillars towards the country’s bicentennial.

“We still have strength,” he affirmed.

Once again, the former president denounced that Arce’s government planned to oust him “with political processes” and even wanted to “eliminate” him physically, so he accepted what his militancy was asking for.

“We are going to face with truth, dignity, and honesty all that aggression that we suffer in the social networks from the Ministry of the Presidency,” he stressed in a later message on the X network (formerly Twitter).

Morales’ announcement comes just a few days before the MAS national congress is to be held from October 3 to 5 in the tropics of Cochabamba, one of its political strongholds, which has also been a source of dispute among the ruling party.

Arce’s allies or “arcistas” have tried that this congress be held in the city of El Alto, next to La Paz, and that the leaders of the ruling party be renewed, starting with Morales himself.

Meanwhile, the so-called “evistas,” close to Morales, have already warned that the MAS meeting will decide on the expulsion of Arce and Choquehuanca, whom they qualify as “traitors.”

Morales said that his detractors would seek to disqualify his candidacy “using a woman,” as “the right-wing did” during the 2019 crisis when, amid allegations of electoral fraud in his favor, he resigned denouncing a “coup d’état” so that the opposition Jeanine Áñez assumed the interim Presidency of the country, in the face of the resignations of all those in line of succession.

“We will never give up, sisters and brothers! United, we will save our beloved Bolivia again!” she said.

This Saturday, the MAS leadership, close to Morales, accused the Arce government of alleged pressure on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal through some leaders to try to invalidate the party congress.

The struggles in the MAS began at the end of 2022 with criticisms to the Government’s management and corruption accusations against some ministers, while several pro-government sectors have proclaimed, separately, the candidacies of Arce and Morales for the elections of 2025. EFE