LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales was proclaimed on Saturday in Cochabamba before thousands of followers as the candidate of the ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party, allowing him to run for a fourth straight term in 2019.
Morales was nominated by the social organizations and movements that make up the MAS at a massive celebration of Democratic and Cultural Revolution Day, which commemorates his first electoral victory in December 2005.
“Evo, brother, the people nominate you,” shouted the crowd that had been gathering for hours on a city thoroughfare.
“Mission completed, we’re ready for the elections,” said Morales, who said that “close to a million people” were in the crowd.
Peasant leaders, miners, students, union members and others who make up the MAS expressed their support for the next candidacy of the Bolivian president.
“We, the social organizations, the workers, the working classes, we now have our candidate for 2019 and he’s called Evo Morales Ayma,” said union leader Rolando Borda.
The president received the crowd’s support as a message that the process of change in Bolivia, initiated 12 years ago with his first election victory, is “unstoppable.”
The support of his base came two weeks after Morales himself said he would accept the nomination after receiving the go-ahead from the nation’s Constitutional Court to stand for reelection.
The verdict, harshly questioned by the Bolivian opposition, established that the American Human Rights Convention prevails over the constitution and Bolivia’s electoral law, which limit reelection to two consecutive terms.
A previous judicial decision had authorized him to seek a third term on grounds that that his first term did not count because the country was founded anew with the 2009 Magna Carta.
The opposition complained that the president aims to perpetuate himself in power with complete disregard for the constitution that he himself enacted, and for the result of a 2016 referendum, in which the people rejected another reelection.