Faced with unrelenting protests over the results of disputed elections in which he claimed victory, President Evo Morales of Bolivia said on Sunday that he would call new elections.
Speaking in a televised address, Mr. Morales called for peace and said he would replace the Electoral Tribunal in an attempt to calm the nation’s escalating crisis in the South American country.
The opposition had criticized the tribunal for its excessive loyalty to Mr. Morales, and it had been accused of widespread electoral fraud.
The announcement came hours after the Organization of American States released a preliminary report on Sunday saying that it would not certify Mr. Morales’s victory in the Oct. 20 vote and that the results should be annulled because of widespread irregularities.
The outcome of the vote has been in dispute since election officials released preliminary results in October that pointed to a runoff between Mr. Morales and Carlos Mesa, a former president — only to reverse course within 24 hours. Election officials released an updated results showing Mr. Morales leading by 10 percentage points, the margin required to avoid a runoff.
But Mr. Morales pivoted after the most serious threat yet to his hold on power emerged this weekend: Many police units in major cities joined the demonstrations, major allies resigned and angry protesters took over government offices.
Mr. Morales, who in 2006 became the country’s first Indigenous leader, declared, “A coup is underway,” in a televised address on Saturday from his traditional stronghold in El Alto, outside La Paz.
He had also urged demonstrators to wait for the results of the audit by the Organization of American States, whose charter promotes democracy among member organizations in the Western Hemisphere. But tens of thousands of people rallied Saturday in Santa Cruz, demanding that Mr. Morales resign by Monday.
Amid the unrest, Bolivia’s armed forces expressed neutrality and promised to “not clash with the people.”