Evo Morales: Five more years in the presidency of Bolivia?

If the president is reelected, Morales will have been in office for 19 years

If the president is reelected, Morales will have been in office for 19 years

Evo Morales

Leer en Español: Evo Morales: ¿cinco años más en el poder?

Over the past couple of months, there has been what seems like a political novel in Bolivia after current president Evo Morales requested to the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (PCT) permission to run for office in 2019.

The PCT ruled in favor of the Movement for Socialism (MFS), which requested the abolition of those articles that prohibited the extension of a president for more than two terms in office.

The PCT took refuge in the American Convention on Human Rights, signed in 1969 in San José, Costa Rica, clarifying that this pact protects the political rights of reelection and that it must be taken into account, even when enforcing the Bolivian constitution, as it was stated by Macario Cortez, PCT magistrate, at a press conference.

Background

It is worth remembering that in 2016, Evo tried to partake in the presidential elections of 2019 by means of a referendum in which the 'No' won.

Although Morales had stated that he would respect the decision of those who won the referendum, the president, after learning that the opposition had won, affirmed that the campaign had been rigged.

Also, it is not the first time that Evo Morales uses the PCT as a resource to validate his re-election process. For the presidential elections of 2010-2015, the Bolivian president claimed that his first term was before the change of Constitution in 2009, so the re-election of 2010 could not be taken as such, but rather as his first term as Commander in Chief of Bolivia.

With this, the Aymara leader managed to secure a second re-election process in 2014, which Morales also won and ended up consolidating his presidential power until, at least, 2020.

Reactions

Of course, this decision has been categorized as 'unconstitutional' by the opposition. Rubén Costas, president of the Social Democratic Movement, accused Evo Morales of using "justice to annul the will of the people expressed on 21F (February 2016) […] this on the part of a government already delegitimized by its actions."

Ex-president, Jorge Quiroga, considered this ruling as a "blow to the popular will expressed on 21F, attributing the measure of the PCT to the president of the republic "lies repeatedly, to try to stay in the power".

Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), explains that "the American Convention on Human Rights does not contemplate the right to perpetuate in the power ". For what, according to Almagro, there are no reliable arguments with which to excuse the delegitimization of the Magna Carta in Bolivia.

Morales would not be the first

It is important to remember that Evo Morales is not the first Latin American president who intends to perpetuate himself in power. The record has been held by the late Fidel Castro with his 49 years in the presidency of Cuba, from 1959 to 2008, the year in which he yielded authority to his brother, the current Cuban president, Raul Castro.

However, it is worth mentioning other left-wing leaders like Hugo Chávez, in Venezuela, with 14 years in power from 1999 to 2013. As well as Daniel Ortega (15 years) with two major periods in Nicaragua.

 

Latin American Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Ciicchetto

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