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Bolivia to hold fresh polls after authorities find 'irregularities' in last vote

Bolivian President Evo Morales on Sunday (local time) called for a fresh election after an international audit found "serious irregularities" in the results of the general elections that took place last month in the South American nation.

Morales did not cite the report published by the Organization of American States (OAS), but announced the current members of Bolivia's electoral council would be replaced, CNN reported.

The president, a socialist leader who has been in power for a long time, however, did not announce any date for the new elections.

The OAS recommended that new elections be held under the umbrella of "new electoral authorities in order to offer a reliable process."

In its report, the OAS said the alleged irregularities -- including failures in the chain of custody for ballots, alteration and forgery of electoral material, redirection of data to unauthorized servers and data manipulation -- impacted the official vote count.

"The manipulations to the computer system (used in the elections) are of such magnitude that they must be deeply investigated by the Bolivian State to get to the bottom (of this issue)," the OAS said, in part.

Protests broke out in the days following the October 20 election, with demonstrators and the Bolivian opposition accusing electoral authorities of manipulating the vote count in favour of Morales, who is seeking his fourth term. Morales denied the allegations but declared himself the winner.

Three people have died in the protests, and hundreds have been injured so far.

Various police units across the country on Saturday joined calls for Morales to resign, and the head of the Bolivian Armed Forces said his units would not confront protesters.