LA PAZ – This week’s resignation of the head of Bolivia’s Senate was motivated by personal concerns, President Evo Morales said on Thursday in a bid to “avoid speculation.”
“He told me in January that he could not carry on for personal reasons,” the president said during an event in the southern city of Sucre.
Morales, making his first public comment on the resignation, which was announced on Tuesday, said that he had attempted to persuade Sen. Jose Alberto “Gringo” Gonzales to remain in the position, “but the problem is very serious and that is why he resigned.”
“Sometimes families are harshly affected,” the president said, adding that “it is painful, but we cannot force” party members to remain in their positions.
Morales said “this does not mean that brother Gringo Gonzales is retiring,” as he will assume “other functions” in the administration after spending two weeks with his family.
The president said that the decision to designate Sen. Milton Baron as the new leader of the Senate was made “unanimously” in a meeting with lawmakers from the governing Movement Toward Socialism party early Thursday in La Paz, in which Morales was present.
The president praised Baron for his “commitment and vast legal knowledge,” as he has a law degree, adding that the senator was suited to “complete the task” initiated by Gonzales.