Bolivia’s Term Limit Referendum a Warning to Latin American Autocrats

A delegate gives an unmarked ballot to a voter at a polling station during the constitution referendum, El Alto, Bolivia, Feb. 21, 2016 (AP photo by Juan Karita).
A delegate gives an unmarked ballot to a voter at a polling station during the constitution referendum, El Alto, Bolivia, Feb. 21, 2016 (AP photo by Juan Karita).
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Last weekend, Bolivian voters went to the polls and did something remarkable: They told their sitting president—a popular and successful one—that they will not allow him to remain in power for as long as he wishes. The voters’ rejection of a constitutional amendment that would have allowed President Evo Morales to run for a fourth consecutive term came as a painfully unexpected blow to a politician grown accustomed to landslide victories and popular adulation. The vote sent shockwaves across Bolivia. More importantly, it sent an important message to other politicians with autocratic tendencies in the region: Latin American democracy is […]

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