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Morales loses referendum to run for fourth term

24 February 2016 7:15



Bolivian President Evo Morales has lost a referendum on a constitutional change to allow him to seek a fourth term, official results show.

Electoral board president Katia Uriona said on Tuesday that 99.49 percent of the votes were counted, adding that 51.31 percent voted against the move while 48.69 percent voted in favor.

More than six million registered voters took part in the national referendum on Sunday.

Members of the electoral jury count votes of the Bolivian referendum in La Paz, Bolivia, on February 21, 2016. (AFP photo)

The constitutional change would have allowed Morales to run for office in 2019 and potentially remain in power until 2025. Morales was elected as Bolivia’s first indigenous president in 2006, and his current term will end in 2020.

Opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina asked Morales to recognize the results and focus on solving the problems of the Latin American country in his remaining time instead of planning to run for another term.

Morales promised to respect the official results of Sunday’s vote.

“With my record, I can leave happily and go home content. I would love to be a sports trainer,” Morales said in an interview with the Spanish El Pais newspaper.

He, however, said he was still hopeful and accused right-wing party of waging a “dirty war” against his campaign.

An Aymara indigenous woman places her vote in the ballot box on February 21, 2016 in Huarina, Bolivia. (AFP photo)

Morales has overseen robust economic growth but opponents accuse him of presiding over corruption and investing in flashy infrastructure projects at the expense of health and education.

Critics also accuse him of an authoritarian streak and favoring his own Aymara majority over other indigenous groups.

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