Morales Moves Ahead With His Divisive Re-Election Bid in Bolivia

Morales Moves Ahead With His Divisive Re-Election Bid in Bolivia
Bolivian President Evo Morales arrives at the Legislative Assembly accompanied by lawmakers, La Paz, Bolivia, Jan. 22, 2019 (AP photo by Juan Karita).

Bolivian President Evo Morales marked the 13th anniversary of his presidency this week as he prepares a controversial run for a fourth consecutive term in office. Bolivia’s top electoral court has upheld his right to run in October, even though Morales is term-limited by the constitution and his attempt to amend the constitution was rejected in a 2016 referendum. In an email interview with WPR, Martín Mendoza-Botelho, a professor of political science, philosophy and geography at Eastern Connecticut State University, discusses the implications of Morales’ attempt to cling to power and explains why he is still favored to win despite the unpopularity of his re-election bid.

World Politics Review: On what grounds did Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Court rule in Morales’ favor, and what does that decision say about the independence of Bolivia’s judiciary?

Martín Mendoza-Botelho: The decision of Bolivia’s Supreme Electoral Court simply reinforces a more controversial and clearly anti-constitutional verdict delivered by the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal in November 2017 that allowed Morales to run for a fourth term. The main argument of the Constitutional Tribunal was that not allowing Morales to participate in another election denied him a fundamental human right. Both decisions contravene the results of a national referendum carried out in February 2016, in which 51.3 percent of the Bolivian electorate rejected a potential fourth term for Morales.

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