Friday, August 17, 2018

Trajectory of Bolivian Politics

Miguel Centellas has a nice article in Chile's Revista de Ciencia Política analyzing Bolivian politics and economics in 2017. The upshot is that although there are question marks, some serious, things are going quite well. The biggest question mark is Evo Morales himself, particularly when the constitutional court abolished term limits, arguing that the constitution could not be an obstacle to the individual right to run for office.

It has become increasingly clear that Evo Morales has no intention of leaving the presidency and there are few (if any) meaningful constraints on his ability to stay in office indefinitely. It is comforting to realize that the last few years have seen a tremendous institutional strengthening, professionalization, and sophistication of the electoral court—and especially to know that the court’s leadership was willing to challenge the constitutional court’s decision to allow Morales to run for a fourth consecutive term in 2019. The problem is that confidence even in elections, along with confidence in most other institutions, is eroding. Thus, the real challenge will come if and when voters reject Morales definitively. Adam Przeworski once famously quipped that “democracy is a system in which parties lose elections” (1991: 10). Perhaps the best evidence for a consolidation of Bolivia’s post-2003 democratic system will come when MAS loses a presidential election.
Concentration of power in one individual is not good for democracy, but this is up to Bolivians. There is every indication they did not favor allowing further re-election, but that is not the same as saying they would not vote for Evo if he were on the ballot. Clearly, though, his approval has waned.

With regard to Evo Morales grooming someone and stepping aside, I wonder whether the Ecuador and Colombia examples are giving him even more pause. In both cases, the protégé quickly went in a different (and for them undesirable) direction.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP