Perspectives Part II: Politics in Bolivia

Under his presidency, inequalities amongst large portions of Bolivia’s indigenous communities, which had been previously ignored by the government, were greatly reduced. As a result, Bolivia’s Aymara and Quechua populations went on to demonstrate their unwavering support for President Morales. Large portions of Bolivia’s upper-class communities, however, were keeping a close eye on his desire to stay in power, keenly aware of its potential to go against the Constitution.

In early 2016, President Evo Morales sought a referendum to change Bolivia’s constitution once more. He wanted the constitution to give elected officials the right to run indefinitely. When this referendum was put to a vote, President Morales lost, with 51.3% of the population voting against the change. President Morales then made an appeal to Bolivia’s Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal to overturn the vote. In late November of 2017, the Tribunal conceded with President Morales by ruling that all elected officials could run for office indefinitely, rather than for the two consecutive terms permitted under the Constitution. President Morales had claimed that it was his human right to run for office indefinitely and the Tribunal justified its decision based on the American Convention on Human Rights’ interpretation of political rights. 

Subsequently, on October 20, 2019, Evo Morales went on to claim his fourth term as president of Bolivia. His election did not go uncontested, though. Morales’ opponents argued that his party, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), tampered with the election results in order to avoid a second round of elections to be held between Morales and his opponent, Carlos Mesa.