Reversing His Pledge, Bolivia’s Morales Wants to Push Term Limits Again

Reversing His Pledge, Bolivia’s Morales Wants to Push Term Limits Again
A supporter of Bolivian President Evo Morales waves a party flag during a march supporting his re-election, La Paz, Bolivia, Nov. 7, 2017 (AP photo by Juan Karita).

Bolivian President Evo Morales is forging ahead with a plan to get around constitutional limits to stand for a fourth term in 2019, despite losing a February 2016 referendum on whether he could run again. His party, the Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, presented a petition to Bolivia’s elected constitutional tribunal in late September requesting that four articles of the country’s constitution be declared “inapplicable,” allowing Morales to stand for president indefinitely.

The MAS also wants the court to scrap term limits for other elected officials, including governors, mayors and members of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, Bolivia’s legislature. A decision from the tribunal is expected before the end of the year.

Although Morales initially announced he would respect the 2016 referendum results, he is generally acknowledged to be the glue that holds the MAS together in a country where weak political parties usually function only as a vehicle for a specific candidate. His role as mediator and enforcer of unity go a long way in explaining the MAS’ inability to identify a viable replacement.

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