La Paz (Agenzia Fides) - "A serious damage to democracy" is how the Bolivian Bishops' Conference (CEB) defined the decision of the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal to accept the request of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) to allow President Morales to run as its candidate for the 2019 presidential election in an indefinite manner.
"This can undermine the credibility and legitimacy of the authorities and institutions called to preserve the democratic health of our country and could put us in a situation of violation of the constitutional order with unforeseeable consequences", reads the document published on October 2, which was presented at a press conference by Fr. José Fuentes, CEB's Deputy Secretary General.
"This fact is a serious damage to democracy and ignores the popular will expressed in the referendum of 21 February 2016", adds the text. On that occasion, the majority of Bolivians rejected a referendum that would have permitted President Evo Morales to run for a fourth term, in the 2019 elections (see Fides 22/12/2016). The Bishops join "the many voices of society" that reject the intention of President Evo Morales and Vice President Alvaro García Linera to run as candidates.
The referendum on the reform of Article 168 of the Constitution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (see Fides 17/02/2016), regarding the Presidential and Vice-Presidential term of office (five years) and the possibility of re-election, revealed that 56 percent of voters had rejected the amendment.
"If the alleged unrestricted political rights of current rulers are carried out, where are the rights of millions of Bolivians who refused this option in the referendum? Where are the national and international laws that have always respected the rules of democracy in force in a state?" says the CEB document.
The Movement for Socialism (MAS) insisted on its request shortly before Christmas 2016 and the Bishops had reaffirmed the need to respect the popular will expressed in the referendum: "It is not a matter of parties, whether they are right, left or center. It is a matter of knowing and remembering that the Bolivian people spoke on February 21 and that their words should be respected", emphasized the Auxiliary Bishop of La Paz and Secretary General of CEB, His Exc. Mgr. Aurelio Pesoa Ribera, O.F.M. (see Fides 22/12/2016). (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 05/10/2017)