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Anez withdraws candidacy

Agence France-Presse



LA PAZ, Bolivia (AFP) — The interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Anez, announced on Thursday her withdrawal from the presidential race a month before the elections, fearing she would split the vote against leftist Luis Arce, protege of former leader Evo Morales.

“Today I set aside my candidacy for the presidency of Bolivia,” said the right wing leader in a televised message.

She explained that she made the decision “in view of the risk that the democratic vote be divided among various candidates and that as a result of that division the MAS (Movement Towards Socialism, led by Morales) end up winning the election” of 18 October.

Flanked by her candidate for the vice presidency, businessman Samuel Doria Medina, and other political allies, Anez called for unity against the MAS, whose standard-bearer is in first place in polls.

“If we do not unite, Morales returns; if we do not unite, democracy loses; if we do not unite, the dictatorship wins,” said the 53-year-old leader.

Anez abandoned the electoral race one day after a national poll put her in fourth place in the race, and Arce in the lead.