Bolivian minister threatens observers and sparks controversy with parliament

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LA PAZ (Sputnik) – Bolivian Government Minister Arturo Murillo, censored by parliament but still in office, sparked a new controversy by threatening to expel international observers who provoke violence during Sunday’s elections.

“The more observers there are, the better for everyone. We warn agitators and people who seek to generate violence, they are not welcome. We put them on a plane or behind bars. Behave, we know who you are and where you are,” Murillo wrote in his account of Twitter, three days before the elections.

The head of government, known as “super minister” of President Jeanine Áñez, issued the warning the day after that the opposition parliament approved a vote of no confidence against him, which implies immediate dismissal, for not attending an interpellation.

Murillo, who did not identify alleged foreign “agitators”, launched his threat after local media reported that the president of parliament, the opposition Eva Copa, invited former president and current Argentine senator Cristina Kirchner to observe the elections.

“We cannot threaten international organizations in this way, wherever they come from, whatever color they are and the ideological position they have. Bolivians are from the culture of peace and dialogue,” said Copa, of the Movement for Socialism (MAS ), in response to Murillo.

The legislative chief affirmed that since the censorship “Mr. Murillo is no longer Minister of Government for Bolivians,” according to the Constitution.

Murillo told reporters that he had not been officially notified of the parliamentary vote against him – which was denied by Copa – and claimed that the MAS-controlled parliament would not have the moral authority to convene it.
Copa explained that the parliament, meeting in bicameral session, censured Murillo after rejecting the justification presented by the minister for not attending an interpellation on alleged irregularities in a purchase of anti-riot equipment for the police.
“This man is no longer a minister, yesterday the interpellation was made to him, he was censured because he went to receive the (delegation of the) OAS before coming and giving a report to the Legislative Assembly, usurping functions of the Chancellery “, explained the parliamentarian.

In the session of Wednesday 14, the parliament also censured the Minister of Education, Víctor Hugo Cárdenas, also for not attending an interpellation, which in his case referred to the early closure of the school year decreed at the beginning of August.

According to local media, Copa invited a score of legislators from Latin America and Europe, and representatives of international organizations, to observe on the ground the general election on Sunday 18.

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