The ruling Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS) party has called for counter-protests across the country to be held this Friday.
In a referendum held in February 2016, Bolivians voted not to remove term limits for the President. Bolivia’s current constitution was adopted in 2009 and allows a sitting President to be reelected once for a continuous term. President Morales was allowed to run for a third consecutive term in 2014 since his first term started before the current constitution was adopted.
Although the referendum was rejected by 51.3 percent of the voters, Morales did not accept that the fight was over. In a speech after the vote, Morales said, “We respect the results … we have lost a battle, but we’re not defeated.”
Last month, lawmakers from MAS asked the Plurinational Constitutional Court to remove all term limits imposed by the Constitution. The lawmakers argue that the term limits violate the rights of Bolivians to “participate freely in the formation, exercise and control of political power.”
Evo Morales is the longest-serving head of state in Bolivia’s history. He was first elected President in 2005. In 2009 and 2014 he was reelected with more than 60 percent of the popular vote.
If the Court rules in favor of the ruling party, President Morales may find that his reelection will not be as easy as it was in 2009 and 2014. The World Bank expects Bolivia’s GDP growth to slow to around 3.5 percent in 2017, 2018, and 2019. That would be a significant fall from the 5.5, 4.9, and 4.3 percent growth that the country recorded in 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively.
The Court agreed has until December to make its decision.