[JURIST] A Bolivian legislative committee approved a bill on Tuesday to amend the constitution to extend presidential terms, allowing current President Evo Morales and his vice president to run for a fourth consecutive term in office. The president’s party, Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) won a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Assembly during the last elections, where the bill will be sent next for approval. If the bill passes the Legislative Assembly, then it will face a national referendum [WSJ report] in February. Critics of the bill believe that it is a move by the party to undermine democracy, but its supporters say it will simply be the people deciding the issue.
Morales is the first indigenous president to be elected in Bolivia and has worked towards [JURIST report] promoting justice for the indigenous Bolivian population. The Bolivian top electoral court confirmed [JURIST report] his reelection last October. In May 2013 Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera signed into law [JURIST report] a constitutional amendment that allowed Morales to run for third term, though the Bolivian Constitution only allows a president to serve two terms. In June 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 [JURIST report] 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.