Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera signed into law Tuesday a constitutional amendment that will allow President Evo Morales [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to run for a third term. The Bolivian Constitution [text, in Spanish] only allows a president to serve two terms. However, last month the Bolivian Constitutional Tribunal ruled [JURIST report] that the two consecutive term limit should not be applied retroactively, and because the country's constitution was amended [JURIST report] after Morales began his term, his first term will not count. The controversial bill was approved [JURIST report] by Bolivian lawmakers earlier this month and will allow Morales to seek a third term in the elections next year. If Morales runs and wins, he will be Bolivia's longest serving president.
Morales is the first indigenous president to be elected in Bolivia and has worked towards [JURIST report] promoting justice for the indigenous Bolivian population. In June 2010, the Bolivian National Congress approved [JURIST report] legislation that would create an independent justice system for indigenous communities. In March 2009, Morales began redistributing land [JURIST report] to indigenous farmers under power given to him by the country's new constitution. Bolivia's new constitution [JURIST report] went into effect in February 2009, placing more power in the hands of the country's majority. It also created seats in Congress for minority indigenous groups.