Bolivia’s Multinational Electoral Tribunal (OEP) announced late Tuesday that it had accepted current President Evo Morales’ bid for reelection, sparking protests in La Paz and a general strike on Thursday.
Morales is the first indigenous president to be elected in Bolivia and has been in power since first assuming office 2006. Though Bolivia’s constitution limits presidents to two five-year terms, the OEP announcement reflected the Bolivia’s Multinational Constitutional Tribunal (TCP) November decision to grant an exception and permit Morales to seek a fourth consecutive term as the country’s president in the 2019 election. In 2016 Morales campaigned for and lost a referendum to amend the Bolivian Constitution to allow indefinite term-limits.
This is the second time the TCP has permitted Morales to flout the constitution’s express two-term limit: in 2013 the TCP held that because Morales had already started a term when the constitution was amended in 2009, the first term would not retroactively count towards a term-limit.
Multiple civic groups and trade unions who oppose Morales’ reelection announced a general strike Thursday.
Morales is one of nine candidates approved to run in the presidential primary elections in January. If Morales passes this initial hurdle, Bolivians will decide in November whether to grant him a fourth five-year term.