[JURIST] Bolivia’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled Monday that President Evo Morales [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] can run for a third election term despite the single re-election provision in the Bolivian Constitution [text, in Spanish]. The constitution was amended [JURIST report] in 2009 after Morales’s first term in office began in 2005. In 2008, Morales engineered an endorsement [JURIST report] of the constitution by agreeing not to seek reelection in 2014. However, the court said the two consecutive term limit does not apply retroactively, meaning next year’s election would legally count as Morales’s first re-election. Elections are scheduled for December 2014. If Morales prevails he will become Bolivia’s longest-serving president.
Morales is the first indigenous president to be elected in Bolivia and the theme of his presidency [JURIST report] has been advancing the interest of the majority indigenous community. On June 8, 2010, the Bolivian National Congress approved [JURIST report] legislation that would create an independent justice system for indigenous communities. In March 2009, Morales began redistributing land [JURIST report] to indigenous farmers under power given to him by the country’s new constitution. Bolivia’s new constitution went into effect in February 2009, placing more power in the hands of the country’s majority. It also created seats in Congress for minority indigenous groups. 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.