LA PAZ – Bolivia’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Tuesday that President Evo Morales can contest the 2019 election in pursuit of what would be a fourth consecutive term.
The court found in favor of a motion brought by the governing leftist MAS party challenging several articles of the constitution and provisions of the electoral law.
The tribunal accepted MAS’ argument that constitutionally mandated term limits for the president and other officeholders violate Article 23 of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, chief judge Macario Lahor told reporters in the southeastern city of Sucre, where Bolivia’s highest court sits.
Under the 2009 constitution enacted by Morales, the head of state is limited to two consecutive terms.
Morales and Vice President Garcia Linera started their first term in 2006, their second in 2010 and their third in 2015. They were allowed to seek a third mandate thanks to a ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal that the adoption of the new national charter in 2009 re-set the clock on terms in office.
In a February 2016 referendum, Bolivian voters rejected Morales’ bid to amend the constitution to allow him to run for re-election once again in 2019.
But Morales contends that the outcome of the plebiscite was tainted by a flurry of negative stories in the media about him in the weeks ahead of the vote.
The damaging stories centered on a former girlfriend of the president who claimed – falsely – to have had a child with Morales.
A fourth term would extend Morales’ tenure to 2025.