Bolivian leader’s former lover arrested

Bolivia's President Evo Morales sings his national anthem at a signing ceremony for the expansion of a road that connects the capital with the nearby city of El Alto, in La Paz, Bolivia, Monday on 22 February, 2016Image copyright

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Evo Morales has been president since 2005

Bolivian President Evo Morales’ former lover has been arrested as part of an investigation into alleged corruption, the interior ministry says.

Gabriela Zapata is a top manager at a Chinese building firm which recently won government contracts in Bolivia.

No details of possible charges were given and no comment from Ms Zapata was immediately available.

Opposition media have accused Mr Morales of peddling influence linked to the firm – a claim he denies.

This week he lost a referendum aimed at allowing him to run for another term.

Mr Morales – Bolivia’s first indigenous president – accepted defeat in the ballot.

He also said a dirty war was now being waged against him, asking a parliamentary commission and state auditors to investigate the contracts with the CAMC Engineering company.

Official results of the referendum show that 51.3% of voters rejected the proposal to change the constitution to allow Mr Morales to run for another term.

He has been in power since 2006 and his current term runs out in 2020.

Evo Morales in office

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Evo Morales waves to supporters in Oruro in October 2005 during his presidential campaign

  1. First elected president in 2005: Began by renationalising the country’s oil and gas industries and boosting social spending. Won a referendum in August 2008 on whether he should stay in office, and then a few months later a referendum approved his plans for a new constitution
  2. Re-elected in 2009: His second term followed a landslide win, and Mr Morales continued to pursue left-wing policies
  3. Again re-elected in 2014: He was able to run again despite the 2009 constitution limiting presidents to two consecutive terms in office. The Constitutional Court ruled his first term should not count because it had not taken place under the new constitution. His current terms ends in 2020

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