LA PAZ – The Bolivian government enacted a law that will allow President Evo Morales to seek a third term that would make him the Andean nation’s longest-serving leader.
The new regulation was signed into law late Monday by Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera in the absence of Morales, who is on a visit to the United States.
The Cabinet, congressional leaders and social and union associations allied with the government were all on hand at the signing ceremony to show their support for the law.
Responding to a formal question from Congress, Bolivia’s Constitutional Court ruled last month that Morales could seek a third term in the December 2014 elections.
While the constitution that took effect in 2009 limits the president to two consecutive terms, the court accepted Morales’ argument that his 2006-2010 administration should not count toward that limit since it predates the new charter.
Morales, Indian-majority Bolivia’s first indigenous president, was elected in 2005 with 53.7 percent of the vote and was reelected in 2010 with 64 percent.
The Bolivian opposition rejects the Constitutional Court’s interpretation and announced it was taking legal measures, among them appealing to the Organization of American States to examine the situation in Bolivia.
Garcia Linera said that it is “clear as water” that Morales “has the constitutional right to run for a new reelection.”
“According to the Constitution, a mandate has five years” and Morales’ first term “had only four,” the vice president said Monday night.
Although Morales has not yet confirmed that he will be a candidate in 2014, that has been stated on many occasions by his followers and he declared, regarding his party resorting to the Constitutional Court, that such a move was unnecessary because, since his first term had not lasted five years he was eligible to run for president a third time.
If reelected next year and serving out that five-year term, Morales will set a record for being Bolivia’s longest-serving president, governing until 2020. EFE