LA PAZ – Evo Morales was sworn-in Thursday for a third consecutive term as president of Bolivia at a ceremony attended by six heads of state among other foreign dignitaries.
Morales, 55, is set to govern until 2020, becoming the longest-serving president since Bolivia was founded 190 years ago.
Minutes before taking the oath of office, Morales met at Quemado Palace with five indigenous and union leaders loyal to his government and designated them to carry the presidential sash and shield to Congress for the ceremony.
“I hope to fulfill this mandate with dignity, a sacred mandate I have the obligation to deposit with the people, and you represent the Bolivian people,” the Andean nation’s first indigenous chief executive told the leaders.
Wearing a dark suit adorned with Andean motifs and a white shirt without a tie, Morales arrived at Congress after the inauguration of Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, who presides over the legislature, dominated by the president’s leftist MAS party.
Morales swore devotion to the “homeland and the Bolivian people,” raising his left fist in the MAS salute.
Morales and Garcia Linera were re-elected in October with 61.3 percent of the vote.
On hand for the ceremony were the presidents of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff; Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis; Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Paraguay, Horacio Cartes; Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro; and Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Carmona.
The vice presidents of Argentina, Belarus, Cuba, Nicaragua and Peru, along with the speaker of Spain’s lower house of parliament, Jesus Posada, were also present.