From Bolivia, a little good news today:
The Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal of Bolivia has declared it constitutional that president Evo Morales and vice-president Alvaro García Linera may stand for re-election in the general elections of 2014. The case was decided in light of the fact that the first term of the government of the Plurinational State took place after the enactment of the new Bolivian constitution, approved in February 2009.
The president of the tribunal, Ruddy Flores, informed during a press conference that the tribunal ruled in favor of the candidacy of Morales in response to a consultation submitted by the parliament on the insistence of Morales’s party.
“The seven magistrates have unanimously determined the constitutionality of the project, in respect to Article 4,” Flores said.
The Bolivian constitution limits presidents to two consecutive terms in office, but Morales has always maintained that his first term (2006-2010) cannot be counted, since it took place before the re-founding of the country and did not complete the legal period of five years.
Once re-elected, Morales will govern Bolivia until the year 2020, and will thus become the longest-reigning Bolivian president.
Of course, the opposition are crying foul, but that’s to be expected. They have a bad case of the butthurt. Even if Evo were to stand down and let Alvaro run in his stead, the MAS would still win. And Evo could always run again when Alvaro’s term was up, and win handily. But since he didn’t complete his first term anyway when the new constitution was enacted (triggering new federal elections, which he won), that point is moot. Evo has a case, and he won fair and square in the courts. As he will at the ballot box again, when the time comes, next year.
So we’ll be seeing a lot more of his chipmunk cheeks and groovy aguayo-trimmed jackets in the foreseeable future. The only potential downside to all this is that we’ll also see more putschist efforts to topple him, like those of 2008. Let’s hope his federal police are keeping their eyes open, and their pistols well oiled.