Katia Uriona, the President of Bolivia's Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), unexpectedly resigned Monday citing alleged conflicts she says have paralyzed the TSE in the lead up to the country’s first set of primary elections in January.
"Today I Katia Uriona, present my irrevocable resignation as a member of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal," she said in her resignation letter, which summarized the institution’s achievements during her over three-year tenure.
She added in her letter dated October 22: "at this point, the (TSE), a collegial and maximum decision-making body, has reached a stagnation in decision-making regarding fundamental issues for the safeguarding of institutionality." The TSE released the letter on Tuesday.
Her departure is the second resignation from the TSE in the last few weeks. In early October, Jose Luis Exeni left the body leaving five other members, just enough for a quorum.
Uriona’s announcement comes as all political parties, mandated by TSE rules, are expected to officially register all party members in the country by Wednesday as part of Bolivia’s August-passed Law of Political Parties. The legislation also requires the country to hold primary elections, a first for the South American country. Primaries are set to take place in January 2019, eight months prior to the generals eight months later.
President Evo Morales said on Wednesday morning that his political party, Soliciasm Movement (MAS) had registered "one million (voters). Congratulations, my respect to the militants."
Uriona, a women's rights activists, did not give a cause for the supposed "stagnation" at the TSE, but the tribunal will soon face the decision of accepting or rejecting the candidacy of Morales, who is running for a controversial fourth term.
In a February 2016 referendum, 48.7 percent of voters said they wanted candidates to be able to run in an indefinite number of consecutive elections which would have blocked Evo’s re-election later the Supreme Court ruled to give incumbents the right to be elected several times in a row.
In September, Uriona questioned the law saying it could lead to parties, in this case those on the right, to contesting the validity of candidates. This uncertainty could benefit opposition parties and hamper Morales' re-election plans.
Following the Political Party Law, candidates are required to register their intent to run 60 days before the primaries, which will occur on January 27, 2019. With that in mind former presidents, Jaime Paz Zamora, from the Revolutionary Leftist Movement (MIR) and Carlos Mesa announced their candidacies on Monday and Tuesday respectively.