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Bolivian court gives Morales green light to run again

Bolivian President Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous leader, can now run for a fourth term in 2019
Bolivian President Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous leader, can now run for a fourth term in 2019 AFP/File
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La Paz (AFP)

Bolivia's constitutional court on Tuesday authorized leftist President Evo Morales to run for a fourth term in 2019, even though the country rejected the move in a referendum last year.

In February 2016, the country voted by a slim margin against proposed changes to the constitution to allow Morales -- already Bolivia's longest-serving leader since independence from Spain in 1825 -- to again stand for the presidency.

But since then, his Movement to Socialism (MAS) party, a grouping of unions and social movements, had sought "alternative legal solutions" to overturn the popular vote.

In its ruling on Tuesday, the court said the right to run for office superseded the limits imposed in the constitution.

Morales already had the constitution changed once, three years after taking power in 2006.

Under that revised constitution, he was elected president in 2009, then won what was meant to be a one-off renewal in 2014.

Morales, 58, said last year that the "no" camp won the referendum because of "lies" told by a former girlfriend about their supposed love child -- a child she eventually admitted had died shortly after birth.

Morales, who tended llamas as a child, is Bolivia's first indigenous president.

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