Bolivia: Will the President Serve Another Term? … WTH!?

Stratfor analysis:

Bolivia: Will the President Serve Another Term?


Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 1.53.10 PMBolivian President Evo Morales is not even a year into his third term but already appears to be considering a fourth. The government plans to convene a Cabinet meeting in December to discuss whether Morales should try to change the constitution to allow him to run again in 2019. Meanwhile, some of his supporters have begun calling for a national referendum that would pave the way for those changes. With the economy growing and the political opposition weak, it is plausible that Morales could get the needed reforms through.


With the help of his supporters, the president is trying to secure another term in office while his approval ratings are still high. Morales won a third term in October 2014 with 61 percent of the popular vote. His approval ratings have stayed high largely because of steady economic growth thanks to rising natural gas exports to Brazil and Argentina, not to mention high social spending and a scattered political opposition movement. The economy has grown rapidly — gross domestic product grew by 5.4 percent in 2014 — and exports have risen nearly fivefold over the past decade. With about 70 percent public approval, the time is right for Morales to begin his crusade for a fourth term, which would run from 2020 to 2025.

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But that would require a constitutional amendment. And the only ways to amend the constitution are through a popular referendum or through legislative request. A referendum would trigger a constitutional assembly, at which the changes would be drafted into law. To that end, Bolivian labor and agricultural activists calling themselves the Pact for Unity announced on Aug. 2 their intention to begin legal proceedings to hold a national referendum on whether Morales should run again.

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If the Cabinet decides in December that a presidential run is the appropriate course of action, there will still be more work to complete before a constitutional change can occur. The referendum’s backers would have to begin collecting signatures for the referendum (20 percent of the electorate must sign), which would have to be organized and held by electoral authorities. The process would take at least the better part of a year.

The other option is that Morales could introduce legislation into the legislature to amend the constitution, rather than employing a public referendum. The ruling Movement Toward Socialism has the two-thirds majority required to pass such a measure outright in both legislative houses, but Morales will still probably choose the referendum route if he intends to run again.

Another Morales term would mean at least five more years of a risky climate for foreign investors. Morales has not shied away from expropriating foreign assets, such as in disputes between local labor and foreign firms. And with high approval ratings and nearly half of Bolivia’s export revenue coming from secure natural gas contracts with neighboring Brazil and Argentina, Morales can afford to risk antagonizing foreign investors.

If Morales chooses to begin preparing for another campaign after December, he will be well positioned to pass the requisite legislation. His approval ratings are high enough and the economy is growing well enough that public support should not be a concern at the moment. Declines in oil prices will eventually reduce Bolivia’s export revenue, but it is unlikely to set off the kind of economic crisis that would cost Morales significant popular backing anytime soon. The country’s political opposition, which draws most of its support from Bolivia’s eastern lowlands, will probably oppose the initiative, and Morales’ bid for another term could spark future political unrest. But for now, the decision to try to remain at the helm of Bolivia for another five years is up to Morales himself.

What this report FAILS to recall is:

  1. that this person, had said in earlier years that he was not going to run for a re-election, despite that earlier statement, he bent the interpretation of the constitution he managed to enforce, to run for an illegitimate re-re-election.
  2. it is a blunt lie to say he is going to “discuss” with his cabinet this December… when everybody knows he is an autocratic, arrogant dictator-type individual; if you do not agree, just ask to the numerous former MAS affiliates who were either thrown or had to leave the ranks when they failed to follow his desires.
  3. he also mentioned that he respects democracy… so far over 700 Bolivians had to scape for fear of political persecution and imprisonment, many other Bolivians had also lost their lives fighting for the right to speech and for questioning the imposing, violent practices to seize power at all levels… he also said that, had there been one dead person he was going to resign office.
  4. over a decade has gone by under his undisputed rule, as he holds control over all powers of the state; the best economic times in all our history and the clear, visible populist demagogue government, has resulted in the waste of $150 billion dollars.
  5. he posed as an indigenous person, and their defender; the reality was he does not speak an indigenous language, he is just a mestizo and his “love” for the indigenous was demonstrated when he ordered that the TIPNIS people be brutally beaten by the police.
  6. the self-proclaimed defender of mother nature, now he intends to open up and destroy our National Parks, looking after hydrocarbons that would bring the dollars he needs to build more palaces, purchase more airplanes and expensive trips around the world.
  7. like the alba countries’ presidents, this populist coca-grower leader wants to remain in power indefinitely; while he has managed to increase the anarchy, corruption, smuggling and narco trafficking to unprecedented levels!

Thus, Bolivia needs to understand the danger and not, repeat NOT approve further control of the government by this type of ochlocracy!

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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