IACH rules presidential reelection not a human right, Bolivia’s Constitutional Court had found otherwise


Bolivia’s Constitutional Court had mistakenly construed the law to favor Evo Morales

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court) Thursday ruled that indefinite presidential re-election is not protected by the American Convention, thus shattering the rationale behind Evo Morales’ candidacy despite a negative referendum.

“Indefinite presidential re-election does not constitute an autonomous right protected by the American Convention or by the ‘corpus iuris’ of international human rights law,” states part of the IACH’s Advisory Opinion OC-28/21.

The ruling also specified that “the prohibition of indefinite reelection is compatible with the American Convention on Human Rights, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”

It also points out that “the authorization of indefinite presidential re-election is contrary to the principles of a representative democracy and, therefore, to the obligations established in the American Convention on Human Rights and the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.”

On October 21, 2019, within the framework of Article 64 (1) of the American Convention on Human Rights, Colombia submitted a request for an advisory opinion to the Inter-American Court regarding “indefinite re-election.”

Colombia’s request was made after President Iván Duque previously expressed his intention to raise this consultation, because he considers that this interpretation that indefinite reelection is a right leads to “dictatorships”.

Bolivia’s Constitutional Court had construed in judgment 0084/2017 that indefinite re-election is a right of the authorities, which allowed Evo Morales and Álvaro García Linera to seek a fourth term in office despite a negative referendum on the issue.

The Bolivian Government has pointed out that the Court’s decision is not retroactive and that it will be taken into account for the future.

After the IACH’s ruling former Bolivian President Carlos Mesa said it was appropriate to bring Morales to trial as well as all those who endorsed his candidacy despite the results of the February 21, 2016 referendum.

“’Indefinite reelection is not a human right.’ The violation of this principle generated serious arbitrariness against democracy. It is the judgment of those who, like Morales, in his ambition used such a fallacy to violate the CPE and evade the decision of the people on F21,” Mesa wrote on his Twitter account.

In the 2016 referendum, 51.3% of voters determined that article 168 of the Political Constitution of the State (CPE) should not be modified and therefore Morales should have not been allowed to run.

But the Plurinational Constitutional Court construed in ruling 0084/2017 that indefinite reelection was a right of the authorities, despite the people’s will.


Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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