Bolivia. One of this year’s major issues was the question of the rules for re-electing a sitting president. Despite a referendum in February 2016 surprisingly saying no to more than one re-election, President Evo Morale’s party MAS (The Movement for Socialism) in September submitted an application to the Supreme Court for an interpretation of Article 168 of the Constitution that governs elections to the head of state. Already on October 10, thousands protested in various places in the country demanding that the results of the referendum be respected. In late November, however, the Supreme Court declared that the article did not prevent Morales from running for re-election in 2019 on the grounds that his first election to the presidential office only took place after the new constitution came into force. It would thus open the way for him to stand in his first re-election under the new constitution since he was first elected in 2005 and elected for a fourth term. The opposition protested on the grounds that Bolivia lacks a strong, independent judiciary that can outweigh a strong presidential power. According to Countryaah.com, the trend in Bolivia is in line with the rest of Latin America, where most countries, since democracy was reintroduced in the 1990s, have gone from strict rules on re-election to allowing it in one country after another.
Morale’s pursuit of staying in power caused political tensions in the country, caused by dissatisfaction with Morales in other areas, to increase further. A report in July showed that, after a five-year decline, the cultivation of coca, which is a traditional Andean crop but also the raw material for cocaine, began to increase again in 2016. Already in March, a government decision increased the total permissible area for legal coca cultivation, which the coca growers interpreted as prices would go down, and in October, coca farmers in the Yungas region conducted street demonstrations against the decision. Another source of dissatisfaction was the construction of a highway between the provinces of Cochabamba and Beni, which has been a battle issue for several years as it will cross Tioc, an area with special rights for the local indigenous people, and a national park.
Corruption scandals also employed Morale’s government. In March, illegals were revealed about the purchase of oil drilling equipment from the Italian company Drillmec. A total of $ 148 million was unrecognized in a contract with state oil company YPFB (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos). In June, the head of the company was dismissed and the subject of a preliminary investigation.
The climate in Bolivia is very diverse due to the enormous differences in altitude. High mountain climate in the Andes, tropical climate in the lowlands. Precipitation decreases from the northern lowlands (over 1500mm) to the southern highlands (200mm).