The Bolivian Constitutional Court confirmed that Jeanine Áñez’s swearing in as president was illegal

The Plurinational Constitutional Court (TCP) of Bolivia ruled that the swearing in of Jeanine Áñez after the coup against Evo Morales was unconstitutional since “there was never a vacuum of power or constitutional succession” that justified the self-proclamation, which was then endorsed by the opposition and the hierarchy of the Church. The TCP resolution was supported by an earlier ruling in which it held that “temporary replacement does not mean that the replacement takes over the position of president.”

The particularity of the TCP ruling is that it collides with another previous sentence of the same court, when in the middle of the coup Morales validated Áñez’s proclamation, despite not having gathered the necessary quorum on November 12, 2019, when the coup was consummated. of State in Bolivia. Then, the TCP considered Áñez’s proclamation valid, considering that “the functioning of the executive body in a comprehensive manner should not be suspended” and that the succession line assumes the presidency “ipso facto”.

Now, Áñez has been in preventive prison since March accused of “sedition, terrorism, conspiracy and genocide”, among other crimes related to the repression of demonstrations that occurred in the days of Morales’ departure and his inauguration. And the TCP decided to modify its position regarding the validity of its mandate by relying on another sentence related to the days of the coup.

This is a cause that faced Susana Rivero and Margarita Fernández Claure, who in November 2019 were respectively first and second vice-presidents of the Chamber of Deputies, whose leadership had been vacated. By that time, in addition to Morales, Vice Álvaro García Linera, the head of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, and the Deputy Víctor Borda had already resigned.

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In the controversy between Rivero and Fernández Claure, the TCP ruled at the end of September that “the temporary replacement does not mean that the replacement assumes the position of president.” For the highest court, then, Rivero retained his status as head of Deputies, because his resignation was never dealt with by the plenary session.

Áñez assumed the Presidency of Bolivia after being proclaimed without a quorum in an act in the Senate on November 12, 2019, hours after Morales left the country amid strong pressure from the opposition and the leaders of the Armed Forces and Police . The de facto president ruled until November 8, 2020, when the now president Luis Arce, Morales’ co-religionist and winner of the October 18 elections of that year, took office.

The charge that Áñez faces for genocide arises from the complaint of relatives of the victims of the repression on November 15, 2019 in the town of Sacaba, near the central city of Cochabamba, and on November 19 at the gas plant of Senkata in the city of El Alto, neighboring La Paz.

In a report presented on August 18, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), recorded that there were 22 deaths in both incidents, which it described as “massacres.”

There are also two other trials in progress, albeit by criminal and ordinary means: one for alleged crimes of sedition, terrorism and conspiracy and the other for breach of public duties.

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