From El Pais, Editorial, May 22, 2013:
Evo Morales’ will to be eligible for a third term violated Bolivia’s Constitution
The Government of Bolivia published this Monday [5/20/13] the law allowing Evo Morales to arising for a third time to the presidential election. Having won the elections in 2006 and had been re-elected in 2010, the next appointment with the ballot boxes will be in 2014. Nothing should be to object to this decision if not because the Constitution forbids a third presidential term. The Constitution, by the way, that enacted Morales in 2009 and that announced the arrival of a “new era” in Bolivia.
A year earlier, the President had committed to not stay in power for more than two terms. “Evo is not ambitious. Evo has no interest,”he proclaimed.
Now he belies and the Government argues that, in fact, first term doesn’t count because it happened before the re-founding of Bolivia. In 2009, therefore the timer gets to zero, and in 2014 Morales run his “re-election”, and not “re-reelection”.
This political ruse collides again with the Constitution, which designates, specifically, that prior to its entry into force presidential mandates “will be taken into account for the purposes of the computation of the new periods of functions”. This precept was decisive for the opposition to gave their support to the new Magna Carta.
The worst case is not that the Bolivian Government tramples the rules, but so has been backed by the Constitutional Court itself, which endorses the arguments of the Executive over the rule of law. [so far this eventual president is in control of the Executive, Legislative, Judicial Powers and the Electoral Court… if that is not a sort of “tyranny or dictatorship… I don’t know what it could be…]
The episode, which the opposition describes as a “blow to democracy”, highlights a worrying trend in Latin America. Because the desire to extend the mandate beyond the constitutional limits is involving the dismantling of the game of counterweights that restrains abuses of power. Democratic springs are used to go to undermining democracy, thanks to the progressive control of all levels of the State, including the judiciary.
Evo Morales follows the footsteps of Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and the mentor of all of them, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. The same debate is now opened in Argentina following the controversial judicial reform promoted by Cristina Fernández, which ensures, as Morales did in his day, not thinking on a third election.
So, the world knows what this president and his acolytes are made of…