More than 7 million Bolivians went to the polls this week to decide whether their long-serving and famously indigenous President Evo Morales could stand for a fourth term of presidential office in 2019, which would allow him to stay in power until 2025 – but would be against the legal Bolivian constitutional limit of terms of office.
Bolivian President Evo Morales’ government, faced with the prospect of losing their political mentor, Evo, therefore proposed to modify this awkward article of the Bolivian Constitution to increase the number of presidential terms from two to three, so enabling Evo to stand again
There was a 60% turnout amongst Bolivian voters for this constitutional challenge to keep President Morales in his job. Approval would have allowed a third re-election of President Evo Morales with Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera. Bolivians decided on the “no” or “yes” question by a very small margin. In total, the “no to Evo” received 51.31% of votes, while “yes” got 48.69%.
President Evo Morales, once the darling of liberals in the West, has ruled Bolivia since January 2006, and took his second term in 2010 and third in 2015. Despite having reduced poverty in his country, the president has become stuck in allegations of corruption and favoritism towards his socialist party.
Bolivian businesswoman Gabriela Zapata, the former girlfriend of president Evo Morales, was arrested last week and is being investigated for possible influence peddling. Gabriela Zapata is executive manager since 2013 of Chinese company CAMC Engineering, which won contracts evaluated at $566 million from ex-lover Evo’s Bolivian government to build a potash mine, rail line and a dam. The Bolivian authorities would not divulge where Miss Zapata was being detained.