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Bolivian court rules Morales cannot run for re-election

Bolivia’s Constitutional Court has disqualified former president Evo Morales from running for re-election in 2025, reversing a ruling that had let him seek a fourth term in 2019.

It said on its website that term limits provide “an ideal measure for ensuring that someone does not perpetuate themself in power”.

Mr Morales was Bolivia’s first Indigenous president and first took power in 2006.

He was extremely popular until he tried to bypass the constitution and seek a fourth term in office in 2019.

He won that vote but was forced to resign amid deadly protests over alleged election fraud and fled the country.

He returned after his then ally Luis Arce won the presidency in October 2020.

Mr Morales has since fallen out with President Arce.

The announcement from the court reversed a ruling it had made in 2017 which effectively found that being able to run for re-election is a “human right”.

The new ruling cannot be appealed.

Mr Morales denounced the new ruling as evidence of what he called complicity against him among judges, the government and the right wing in Bolivia.

The court’s decision means that people in Bolivia can serve no more than two terms as president — either consecutively or not.

Mr Morales has said he wanted to run for president in 2025, as he locks horns with President Arce, who had been his ally and served as economy minister for most of Mr Morales’ time in power since 2006.

The about-face by the Constitutional Court is based on criteria of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which does not consider re-election to be a human right.

That court issued an amicus ruling in 2021, at the request of Colombia, on the idea of presidents seeking re-election in an open-ended fashion.

When Evo Morales resigned and left the country he was replaced by Jeanine Anez, who now faces trial on charges of staging a coup against him.

“The court has ended Morales’ delirium of getting re-elected forever,” Ms Anez said on social media platform X.

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