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Bolivia president undergoes paternity test in scandal

La Paz, Bolivia | AFP |

Bolivian President Evo Morales underwent a paternity test Monday to settle a dispute with an ex-girlfriend whose child he denies fathering, his lawyer said.

In a case that has plunged the 56-year-old leader into scandal, Morales had claimed he fathered a child with her which later died, before changing his story to say the child never existed.

A court ordered the leftist president to undergo a test to answer claims by his ex-partner Gabriela Zapata that he is indeed the father of her child.

“President Evo Morales, like any citizen and in compliance with the law, showed up and has taken the test that the judge arranged,” his lawyer Gaston Velasquez said on television channel ATB.

Morales took Zapata to court in March to make her prove the boy is alive.

Compounding the scandal, Zapata has also been implicated in an alleged corruption case.

Zapata is currently in jail pending trial on charges of money laundering, embezzlement and influence-peddling.

A former manager at Chinese engineering group CAMC, she is accused of using her ties to the president to land $560 million in government contracts for the company.

The case exploded just as Bolivia prepared to hold a referendum on whether to change the constitution to allow Morales to run for a fourth term.

Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, went on to lose the February 21 vote — his first electoral defeat in a decade in power.

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