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Bolivia's interim president, Anez, withdraws from election race

LA PAZ, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Bolivia’s conservative interim president, Jeanine Anez, on Thursday withdrew her candidacy for the Oct. 18 election, after opinion polls showed her lagging against the socialist party of ex-leader Evo Morales.

Anez made the announcement in a video message. She took office during a power vacuum late last year following a election that sparked widespread protests and eventually led to the resignation of long-term leader Morales.

Anez’s candidacy had sparked controversy, after she initially ruled herself out and pledged to guide the country to transparent new elections. Socialist candidate Luis Arce leads in the polls, followed by centrist Carlos Mesa. (Reporting by Daniel Ramos and Monica Machicao; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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