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Bolivia's Constitutional Tribunal rejects legal action against new electoral law on November 7

On November 7, Bolivia’s Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal (TCP) reportedly rejected a legal recourse initiated by opposition members of Congress against the new electoral law allowing the president to seek indefinite re-election. The law, which came into effect on September 4, also introduced primary elections and regulations forcing privately-owned media outlets to publish free political ads during electoral seasons. According to the opposition, the law was designed to favor incumbent President Evo Morales, who seeks a fourth term despite a constitutional ban. In February 2016 Morales organized a referendum on the reelection matter, but it failed to go his way by a slight margin. In November 2017, the Supreme Justice Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) overturned the results of the referendum, thus allowing Morales to run for a fourth continuous mandate since he took office since 2006. Primary elections are slated for January 27, 2019.

The new electoral law is highly controversial as elements in the opposition believe Morales used his influence to subvert the Judiciary’s independence to perpetuate himself in power. Morales has also been criticized by journalists and press groups for allegedly attempting to impose financial constraints on media outlets aligned with the opposition. Although regional bodies, especially the Organization of American State (OAS) have given credence to these grievances, Morales is very likely to secure his party’s official nomination following the upcoming primaries. Therefore, he will probably run in the general elections, expected to take place in October 2019.

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