Evo Morales, who first became president of Bolivia in January 2006 just two months after Angela Merkel took the reins in Germany, is already Latin America’s longest continuously serving head of state. Now Morales, 59, and his longstanding Vice President Álvaro García Linera, 56, are on the ballot for a fourth term in 2019 on the Movement toward Socialism (MAS) ticket that would put them in office through 2025. The bid is a controversial one. Under the 2009 constitution, Morales is term-limited.* Furthermore, he lost a 2016 referendum that would have allowed him to serve one more term. When he challenged that outcome in November 2017, Bolivia's Constitutional Court ruled that term limits themselves are unconstitutional, opening the door for his 2019 bid.
Morales’ best chance of victory is to win the October 20 general election outright. If he fails, his odds in a runoff against former President Carlos Mesa narrow. That said, it’s not a given that supporters of third-place candidate Óscar Ortíz would shift to support Mesa in a second round.
This article was originally published August 26 and has been subsequently updated as new polls become available.
*Morales began his first term in 2006 under Bolivia’s 1967 constitution. Then, the country passed a new Magna Carta in 2009, which “reset” the counting of his terms but still limited the executive to two consecutive five-year terms. He began his first term under the new constitution in 2010 and his second in 2015.
Also of note, the 2016 referendum was not a question on indefinite reelection but on allowing a third consecutive term. That said, the Constitutional Court’s ruling said that any term limits were a restriction on human rights, which could allow for him to run indefinitely.