[JURIST] The Bolivian National Congress [official website, in Spanish] Tuesday ratified proposed reforms [PDF text, in Spanish] to the country's constitution, paving the way for a national referendum on the changes on January 25, 2009. Bolivian President Evo Morales [official website; BBC profile] engineered the endorsement Monday by agreeing not to seek reelection in 2014 [La Razon report, in Spanish]. Morales' conservative opponents had sought such an assurance before approving the constitutional referendum, which required support from two-thirds of the congress. The current constitution [text, in Spanish] limits the president to two terms, and Morales conceded that his present term, which began in 2006, would count towards that limit. Morales announced that the constitutional referendum will be followed by presidential and congressional elections [La Razon report, in Spanish] in December 2009. Should Morales win in 2009, that five-year term would be considered his second and final as president. AP has more.
The controversial proposed reforms [JURIST news archive] would distribute more of Bolivia's land and energy resource income to the country's indigenous population. In August 2008, Morales won a referendum to continue his presidency, which he personally proposed in a bid to legitimize his campaign [JURIST reports] for the constitutional changes.