The Bolivian constitutional court has granted current President Evo Morales permission to run for a third term in December 2014.
The court claims that the constitution of 2009 that allows for only a single re-election does not apply to Morales’ first term.
Morales, who is Bolivia’s first indigenous president, first won election in December 2005 — before the new constitution was passed. He then was re-elected in 2009.
However in the ruling, the country’s Constitutional Court said the clock started ticking after the new constitution was signed into law, meaning that next year’s vote will be legally counted as Morales’ first re-election.
The opposition claim that this decision is proof that the court is under the influence of Morales.
“This court has proved that it is working outside of the constitution and the law,” opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina of the National Unity party claims.
There are similarities between Morales and his political ally, the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Both concentrated on the needs of the poor and Chavez also used the constitution to allow himself to run again.
Like Chavez, Morales has nationalized private companies as part of his policy of increasing state control over the economy.
However, he has received praise from Wall Street credit rating agencies for strong fiscal management and for achieving record central bank reserves.