In 2009, the Bolivian constitution put a consecutive two-term cap on the presidency. Evo Morales, who was elected in 2005, was able to bypass this law on a technicality. He went on to serve a third term because the two-term limit went into effect after he had taken office – essentially, the Constitutional Court ruled that his first term didn’t count.
This weekend, Morales was looking to extend his presidency until 2025, but it has been reported that he narrowly lost a referendum that would allow him to serve another term.
According to the BBC, one poll reports that 52.3 percent voted no on the referendum, but another poll says the number was closer to 51 percent. Fox News Latino added that TV coverage ended after midnight on Sunday when the number of nays was at 67 percent. At that time, only 30 percent of the vote had been accounted for. But the results were still trickling in, especially from the countryside – an area where Morales is very popular.
Last night,National Unity Front leader Samuel Doria Medina asked Morales to concede defeat, and to focus on the changes he could make in his remaining four years. Meanwhile, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said that the results were too close to call.
“Opinion polls, especially exit polls, make mistakes,” he said. “They don’t take into account the vote abroad. They don’t go to the more remote locations, where there is more support for our socialist movement. It’s highly likely that the numbers shown by the opinion polls will be very different from the reality.”
Today, Morales spoke out and said that he would respect the results no matter what, AFP reports. However, he is awaiting the official tally. “We are going to wait patiently for the final whistle from the electoral tribunal. We are optimistic,” he said.
But it seems many are ready to call it a defeat.