• By The Financial District


Bolivia's former president Evo Morales returned from exile in Argentina shortly after his ally Luis Arce was sworn in as Bolivia's president, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported. 

"I was sure I would return but not so soon," Morales was quoted as saying by local media at a farewell ceremony at the La Quiaca-Villazon bridge between the two nations, attended by Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. Morales was accompanied by ex-vice president Alvaro Garcia Linera and other former members of government.

Thousands of people went to Villazon to welcome Morales back, according to El Deber newspaper. The crowds are going to join a convoy of vehicles accompanying the former president to his home department of Cochabamba, newspaper Pagina Siete reported. 

Morales arrived on November 11, a year after he went into exile, initially leaving for Mexico. Morales, the first indigenous head of state of the South American country, resigned last year after nearly 14 years in office, following pressure from the military. The Organization of American States (OAS) accused him of fraud in elections in which he claimed victory a year ago, a charge that researchers have since questioned. Morales and his supporters said there had been a coup. 

Arce, Morales' former economy minister, won Bolivia's latest elections, held in October after several delays. Their leftist MAS party won 55.1 per cent of the votes, enabling Morales to return.