New Bolivia president's foes call strike in key region gion

La Paz (AFP) –


Conservative opponents of Bolivia's leftist president-elect Luis Arce have announced a two-day strike from Thursday protesting alleged electoral fraud.

The strike will take place across the eastern department of Santa Cruz, the South American country's economic hub as well as home to its biggest city.

Powerful governor Ruben Costas said it was "essential to demand that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal carry out an audit of the electoral process, and particularly the result of the vote, in order to give certainty and confidence to the Bolivian people as a whole."

TSE president Salvador Romero dismissed the demand for an audit, saying the result was validated by several international bodies, including the Organization of American States.

Last week, several hundred right-wing protesters in Santa Cruz called on the armed forces to mobilize to prevent Arce's Movement for Socialism (MAS) party from assuming power.

Arce, successor to exiled ex-president Evo Morales, is to be inaugurated on Sunday after triumphing in last month's presidential election.

Santa Cruz is the stronghold of right-wing civic leader Luis Fernando Camacho, who led protests against Morales last year and finished third in the recent election with 14 percent.

Sporadic anti-Arce protests have also broken out in the Cochabamba region.

Bolivia's outgoing parliament last week approved a motion recommending that outgoing interim president Jeanine Anez and her ministers be prosecuted over last year's unrest which left around 30 people dead.