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Bolivian candidate calls for anti-Morales alliance

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Bolivian presidential candidate Luis Fernando Camacho on Tuesday called on his rivals to form a single bloc to defeat former president Evo Morales’s socialist party in the May election.

Right-winger Camacho is one of seven presidential candidates but was running fourth in the latest opinion polls conducted by Ciesmori, with just 9.4 percent.

The leader was Luis Arce, the candidate for Morales’s Movement for Socialism (MAS), with 31.6 percent.

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The other six candidates are all either centrists, right-wingers or conservatives.

Centrist former president Carlos Mesa was second in the polls with 17.1 percent, ahead of incumbent interim President Jeanine Anez with 16.5 percent.

But Arce — who’s candidacy has yet to be accepted by the electoral tribunal — is inching closer to a share that could see him win outright in the May 3 election.

A candidate needs either an absolute majority or at least 40 percent and a 10-point lead over the nearest challenger.

Camacho said he would be prepared to step aside as long as others did the same, “so we can all get behind one single candidate.”

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The candidates met on February 1 in a bid to find unity and get behind just one person, but their attempt failed.

The electoral tribunal is due to rule on Arce’s candidacy at the end of the week.

On February 10, the deadline for candidates to register, the tribunal said that Arce’s presidential bid was lacking documents.

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The tribunal is also due to rule on Morales’s bid to stand for a Senate seat.

After almost 14 years as president, Morales resigned in November following three weeks of social unrest following his controversial election victory that would have given him an unconstitutional fourth term in office.

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He fled abroad before accepting asylum in Argentina, but an arrest warrant has been issued against him in his absence.

The interim government accuses him of sedition and terrorism for allegedly urging his supporters to lay siege to major cities such as La Paz.

He has also been barred from standing for the presidency, which is why he has targeted the Senate.

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Ahead of the electoral tribunal’s decision, MAS complained of a “political attempt… to eliminate our candidates by petty and anti-democratic interests.”


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Italy’s COVID-19 death toll tops 10,000 despite long coronavirus lockdown

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The coronavirus toll in Italy shot past 10,000 on Saturday and showed little sign of slowing despite a 16-day lockdown.

The 889 new fatalities reported in the world's worst-hit nation came a day after it registered 969 deaths on Friday -- the highest single toll since the COVID-19 virus emerged late last year.

Italy now looks certain to extend its economically debilitating -- and emotionally stressful -- business closures and the ban on public gatherings past their April 3 deadline.

"Is it time to reopen the country? I think we have to think about it really carefully," civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters.

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2020 Election

Joe Biden has one key coronavirus question he wants answered: ‘Where are the tests, Mr. President?’

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Despite the inability to hold campaign rallies, the 2020 presidential campaign is continuing in spite of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

With the response to coronavirus being the top public policy discussion in America, all eyes are focused on President Donald Trump's actions.

Trump had promised the nation that he would set up COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in the parking lots of big-box retailers but has so far failed to deliver.

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Banks are causing a cash crisis by tightening lending standards during coronavirus crisis

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Major banks in America are tightening access to credit as coronavirus shutdowns put households across America in dire financial shape, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

"Banks and financial-technology firms are starting to toughen their approval standards for new loans to consumers and small businesses. That means many people could find it hard to get credit just when they most need it, as the novel coronavirus pandemic puts thousands out of work," the newspaper reported.

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