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Bolivia's election observer will convene a special meeting on Wednesday after a disputed presidential vote showed President Evo Morales would win outright, which sparked angry protests around the South Americannation.
The Organization of American States (OAS), an official observer of the election, raised concerns after an official rapid count of votes gave Morales, a leftist in power since 2006, a 10-point lead over rival Carlos Mesa.
This result, which would allow Morales to avoid a risky second round, came after a preliminary count was abruptly halted following the vote on Sunday. With nearly 84% of ballots counted, Morales and Mesa appeared to be heading for a run-off.
A binding vote-count is still underway and could take days to finish.
The OAS raised concerns about the "hard-to-explain" change in the overall trend of the result, which it said "drastically modified the fate of the election and generates a loss of confidence in the electoral process."
On Tuesday, pockets of protesters remained on streets around the country after a night of rioting and skirmishes between voters and police, which saw a number of vote counting stations and ballot boxes set ablaze.
In one case, in the city of Potosi, two people jumped from a burning building to escape the flames.
In downtown La Paz on Tuesday, roads and markets were clogged with residents loading up with rice, cooking oil, potatoes and other basics.
A political group affiliated with Morales, Conalcam, slammed the unrest, saying it was orchestrated by the right-wing opposition. The group called on supporters to defend Morales' "victory" with peaceful counter-protests.
The preliminary count from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) said Morales had 46.85% of the vote to Mesa's 36.74%, just giving him the 10-point lead needed.
Mesa said he did not recognize the result, while the OAS said it would recommend a second-round.
"This is a tragic day for Bolivian democracy," Carlos Alarcon, a representative of Mesa's Citizen Community party, said at a protest site late on Monday.
Morales "has once again robbed the vote, the right to decide by our votes who will be president of Bolivia."
Morales has kept a low profile since confidently claiming on Sunday night that the eventual vote would hand him an outright victory.
Masked youths, tear gas
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