Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera confirmed Wednesday that the Bolivian people will decide through a referendum whether current President Evo Morales will run for a fourth presidential election or not, setting the date for Feb. 21.
“We count on the people to democratically define its fate and (a referendum) is an instrument of participative democracy,” said the government's second-in-command. “If the people say 'no,' well it is their decision.”
“If the Constitutional Court approves the procedures and the question in the upcoming weeks, we would be competing the exercise (of power) on Feb. 21 in 2016.”
The Bolivian Constitution has already been partially amended, with a 112 v. 41 vote in Congress, allowing President Evo Morales to run for a second reelection.
Under Bolivian law, the constitution can be altered through a grassroots referendum called by 20 percent of the electorate or through a reform within the legislature with two-thirds support. Either instance would also require a referendum.
The key provisions of the measure have already been approved by a legislative commission and Morales' Movement Toward Socialism party holds a two-thirds majority in Congress. Morales, 55, was first elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009.
The Bolivian leader was granted permission to run a third time in 2014 on the grounds that he had only served one term under the new constitution.
The referendum proposal, which was initially scheduled to take place in January, has received backing from both Bolivia's ruling political party Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) as well the country’s country's largest social movements.