La Paz, February 2016
On 21st February 2016, the Bolivians voted against the amendment of the Political Constitution of the State, thus preventing * Evo Morales from running for president in 2019. The current constitution only allows the president to be re-elected once.
Evo Morales became Bolivia’s first indigenous president in 2006 and enjoys the support of a large part of the population, especially in rural areas and amongst cocaleros *, being one himself.
In the past few years, President* Evo Morales as well as Vice President* Álvaro García Linera claimed several times that they wouldn’t run * in the next presidential elections (video – video). In September 2015, Morales announced that he wouldn’t campaign for his re-election (video – article). However, in January, he started doing so (video – video).
On 23d February 2016, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal announced that the ‘no’ had won. Although * the MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo – Movement toward Socialism, Evo Morales’ party) stated several times that they would respect the decision of the Bolivian people, one can wonder whether that will keep their word.
The victory of the ‘no’ camp does not prevent another candidate of the MAS from running in the 2019 presidential elections. However, none of the members of his government are as popular as Morales; for them to stay in power, he is a necessary element.
In Bolivia, voting is compulsory. Not voting leads to a fine * and prevents you from using bank services for several months.
It is compulsory to vote in most South American countries. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay a fine and in some countries, not voting prevents you from enrolling in public schools and universities, and from getting a job in state institutions.
Theoretically, it is compulsory to vote in Belgium and in Greece but practically, there is no sanction for not doing so, or at least, few people are punished by law for not voting.
It is also obligatory to vote in Australia, Singapore, Thailand and North Korea, amongst other countries.
* President Morales, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip
In English, when you use someone’s title and then their names, there’s no definite article. So you would say:
- I met the Queen at the supermarket.
- I met Queen Elizabeth at the supermarket.
- The President has already served three terms.
- President Morales has already served three terms.
- the King’s birthday
- King John’s birthday (no article, like with any kind of proper noun)