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Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Cleared to Run Again in 2019

LADB Article ID: 80480
Category/Department: Bolivia
Date: 2017-12-15
By: Andrés Gaudín

Even though the Constitution doesn’t allow it, and a majority (51.3%) of voters in a 2016 referendum voted against it, Bolivian President Evo Morales now has permission to seek a fourth term in the 2019 elections. The surprising decision came from the country’s constitutional authority, the Tribunal Constitucional Plurinacional (TCP), which accepted arguments by the governing Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement Toward Socialism, MAS) party and dozens of civil society and labor groups to the effect that the plebiscite, on Feb. 21, 2016, was tainted by a “smear campaign” aimed at damaging the president’s image and swaying voters to reject the reelection option. The campaign, which included allegations that Morales had fathered and abandoned an illegitimate child, was shown to be part of an operation mounted by the opposition, press outlets, and foreign intelligence agencies. The TCP ruling wasn’t just unexpected, it was also quite inopportune, given that it came just four days before elections were held on Dec. 3 to choose 26 top-level judges (a process unique to Bolivia). Among those elected were members of the TCP itself.

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