LA PAZ – The Bolivian Congress approved a bill calling a referendum to decide on the constitutional reform proposal that would allow President Evo Morales to run in 2019 for what would be a fourth consecutive term.
The bill was approved after midnight on Wednesday, following almost 17 hours of debate, Sen. Jose Alberto Gonzales said.
The law, comprised of seven articles and two final rulings, sets Feb. 21, 2016, as the date for the referendum and establishes the question that will be presented to voters, which was validated last month by the Constitutional Court.
Bolivians will be asked to vote on amending Article 168 of the constitution by replacing the phrase “only one time” with “two times” in regard to the maximum number of re-elections of a sitting president.
Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, took office in 2006, started his second term in 2010 and the third in January of this year.
Although the new constitution enacted in 2009 limits the president to two consecutive terms, Morales was able to run in 2014 thanks to a court decision that concluded his first term did not count against the total because it began prior to the adoption of the new charter.