Bolivia’s Morales cannot seek re-election, court says

The Constitutional Court underlined the importance of term limits as a safeguard against the perpetuation of power by an individual.

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File photo of Bolivia's former president Evo Morales in New York.

Bolivia’s Constitutional Court has rendered former president Evo Morales ineligible to run for re-election in 2025, overturning a prior decision that had permitted him to pursue a fourth term in 2019. The court underlined the importance of term limits as a safeguard against the perpetuation of power by an individual.

Initially elected as Bolivia’s first Indigenous president in 2006, Morales enjoyed significant popularity until his attempt to sidestep the constitution and seek a fourth term in 2019. Despite winning the vote, he resigned amid widespread protests alleging election fraud and subsequently fled the country. Morales returned after his former ally Luis Arce secured the presidency in October 2020. However, tensions arose between Morales and Arce thereafter.

The recent court announcement on Saturday marked a reversal of its 2017 ruling, which essentially deemed the ability to run for re-election as a “human right.” This latest decision is not subject to appeal.

Expressing his intention to run for the presidency in 2025, Morales finds himself in a rivalry with Arce, his former ally who served as the economy minister during most of Morales’ tenure since 2006.

Morales condemned the recent ruling, interpreting it as evidence of what he described as collusion against him involving judges, the government, and the right-wing forces in Bolivia.

The court’s decision effectively imposes a limit of two terms on individuals serving as president in Bolivia, regardless of whether the terms are consecutive or not.

As some political analysts described it, the court’s decision has put an end to Morales’ desire of being re-elected indefinitely.

 

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