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Iran expresses support for new Bolivia government

LA PAZ, BOLIVIA - OCTOBER 24: Newly elected president of Bolivia Luis Arce waves to supporters during a celebration being officially announced as new president of Bolivia on October 24, 2020 in La Paz, Bolivia. Luis Arce of MAS party was officially announced on October 23rd as Bolivia's new president after Supreme Electoral Tribunal informed final results, five days after general elections. Arce will rule the country for the next five years. (Photo by Gaston Brito/Getty Images)
Newly elected president of Bolivia Luis Arce waves to supporters during a celebration being officially announced as new president of Bolivia on October 24, 2020 in La Paz, Bolivia [Gaston Brito/Getty Images]

Following Bolivia's election results last week, which saw the Movement to Socialism (MAS) party receiving 55 per cent of the votes and overall majorities in both houses of Congress, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has voiced Tehran's support for the new Bolivian government and welcomed its "return to democracy".

In a message on Saturday, Rouhani congratulated Bolivian president-elect Luis Arce and expressed Tehran's readiness to restore bilateral relations and extend cooperation with Bolivia.

"I sincerely congratulate you on the successful holding of the Bolivian general elections and on your success in this election," Rouhani said.

"The recent election, which resulted in the decisive victory of Your Excellency and Mr David Choquehuanca as Vice President, was not only a strengthening of the foundations of democracy, but also a glorious demonstration of the administration of justice by the great nation of Bolivia," he added.

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Arce was running against former centrist president Carlos Mesa who received some 31.5 per cent of the votes, he accepted defeat during a press conference streamed on Facebook. Arce is seen as the successor to former socialist president Evo Morales who headed the largely indigenous MAS party before being forced to resign last year over a disputed election leaving the South American country in political uncertainty. Arce served as minister of economy and public finance from 2006 to 2017 and in 2019 under Morales.

According to the Tehran Times, the victory of Morales' party is expected to boost Bolivia's relations with Venezuela, Cuba and Iran. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel have said the Bolivian people had defeated the "coup d'etat" against Morales.

According to a piece published earlier this month on the Gatestone Institute website, compared to relations with Venezuela, the "Iran-Bolivia nexus" is an important but lesser-known aspect of Iran's outreach to Latin America and speculated that Iran could restart its strategic cooperation with Bolivia should the MAS come back to power.

Morales has since reportedly vowed to return home from Mexico where he had been granted asylum since he was ousted. Bolivia, which has recognised Palestinian statehood since the 1980s, restored relations with Israel last year after Morales fled to Mexico.

READ: Colombia accuses Venezuela of trying to acquire Iran missiles

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