Bolivia Referendum Result: Voters Reject 4th Term for President Evo Morales

Bolivia Referendum Result: Voters Reject 4th Term for President Evo Morales
Fecha de publicación: 
24 February 2016
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Some 51.5 percent of the votes for "No" have already been counted Tuesday, thus diminishing the hopes of the leader to earn a fourth term in office.

Though he acknowledged the latest results, Morales and his party, Movement for Socialism, have yet to concede. However, analysts noted that the results are not likely to swing in his favor even as officials are still counting the remaining ballots. There has already been 99.49 percent of the votes counted so far and it has generally been a peaceful process.

Seeking Another Term

Morales tried to make amendments to the constitution by asking his countrymen via the referendum if he can pursue office in the next election. Had this turned in his favor, the change would have allowed Morales to remain in office until 2025.

Morales was first elected as Bolivia's president in 2005, and then again in 2009. He was supposed to be ineligible to run for president after two succeeding terms based on Bolivia's constitution, but the courts ruled that his term in 2005 didn't cover the amendments. Thus, in 2014, Morales won his third shot at the presidency, which allowed him to be in office until 2020. Because of this, he is the longest-serving president of Bolivia, and the first indigenous president at that.

"With my record, I can leave happily and go home content. I would love to be a sports trainer," Morales said.

Track Record

Morales is a popular leader who successfully achieved economic reforms in Bolivia. He has the support of farmers, laborers and migrants. However, his term has been marred by controversies and accusations, mostly coming from the opposition, that he influenced government contracts to favor his associates.

"In recent years there's been a lot of corruption but it never touched the president of the republic," economist Carlos Toranzo said. "This scandal has deeply impacted President Morales."

Who Will Lead Now?

While the opposition views the referendum as a victory, many of the president's allies wonder who would lead the nation after Morales steps down. "The dirty war hit us," said Leonilda Zurita of the president's party. "Bolivia has no other leader." However, Morales is hopeful that he has time to groom potential leaders with four years remaining in his term. "Life goes on and the fight continues," the president said.

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