Evo Morales announces controversial bid for Bolivia’s Presidency

Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times Staff

LA PAZ – On Wednesday, the current President of Bolivia, Evo Morales announced that he would be running again in 2019 in order to maintain his Presidency. If he is successful, this would become his fourth consecutive term as the country’s leader since he rose to power in the 2005 elections.

The Bolivian constitution states that Presidents can only serve for 2 consecutive terms before stepping down from office. The 58-year-old has already caused controversy by running, and winning, a third bid for the Presidency in 2013. This was justified by Bolivian authorities as a new constitution was established during his first term in office, changing the country from the Republic of Bolivia to the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Under the new constitution, Morales had not yet served a single term, so he was permitted to run twice more and won both elections.

In 2016, Morales held a referendum under which he attempted to establish a national wish for him to stand for office for the fourth time when his term runs out in 2020. He was narrowly defeated, which seemed to underline the growing displeasure in their President. Many hoped that the end of this term would usher in a newer, younger type of politics and break Morales’ stronghold over the country. However, Morales and his backers always claimed that this referendum was spoiled by a defamation campaign run by the opposition who published rumors of his corruption and sexual relationships in the weeks leading up to the election.

On Tuesday, the Bolivian Constitutional Tribune announced that he would be allowed to run once again, and this was followed by the Head of State who confirmed that he would be running. In a tweet published on Wednesday, he cited the disapproval of the United States as one of the reasons he would be presenting his candidacy.

“When faced with the proposal of the public, who have asked for my candidacy in 2019, I was not decided. But now that the U.S. asks me to renounce the candidacy, I accept the charge asked of me by the Bolivian people”, the tweet stated.

He also accused the U.S., together with Chile and the Bolivian Right, of conspiring to weaken Bolivia as a country. He claimed that “of course, once more, they want to divide us, rob us and take away our natural resources”.