Cuba's President Raul Castro, left, and his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales arrive to the National Assembly for the inauguration of Venezuela's President-elect Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Friday, April 19, 2013. The opposition boycotted the swearing-in ceremony, hoping that the ruling party's last-minute decision to allow an audit of nearly half the vote could change the result in a the bitterly disputed presidential election. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)AP2013
Bolivia's leftist President Evo Morales, who is friends with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Cuba's Raul Castro, will be allowed to seek a third term in elections set for December 2014, the country's constitutional court ruled.
Chief Judge Ruddy Flores told a press conference that the court's decision came in response to a question from Congress.
The 2009 constitution limits the president to two consecutive terms, but Morales has always claimed that his 2006-2010 administration should not count toward that limit since it took place before the refounding of his country and did not complete the legal five-year period.
The leftist president has yet to declare himself a candidate in the 2014 election. If he were to seek and win a third term, Morales would govern Bolivia until 2020, becoming the Andean nation's longest-serving head of state.
Morales, who is Bolivia's first indigenous president first won election in December 2005 — before the new constitution was enacted. He then was re-elected in a landslide in 2009.
Opposition politicians say Monday's ruling is evidence that Bolivia's courts are under Morales' sway.
"The constitution is very clear in that there can only be one re-election. If Evo Morales wants a second re-election he should have to change the constitution again," said Samuel Doria Medina, leader of the center-right National Unity party.
The Associated Press and Efe contributed to this report.
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