Bolivia: why did the country invalidate its polemic Penal Code?

Government opponents call citizens to keep rallying against Evo Morales despite repeal

Bolivia: why did the country invalidate its polemic Penal Code?


After almost two months of rallies, intense hunger, and civil strikes by many social sectors, the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, announced that his controversial Penal Code will be invalidated and left without any political effect.

The Penal Code, among other things, was accused of forbidding labor union, restricting press freedom, and punishing with prison and monetary penalties poor medical practices.


Morales announced through his official Twitter account, that the decision to nullify the new Criminal System Code, was taken in order to avoid conspiracies of the right political party. According to Morales, it aimed to destabilize the country. Furhtermore, the president also promised to work in the drafting of a new reform that will be written with the approval of different social sectors.


"We are going to listen to the proposals of all sectors that watch Penal Code. National Government will never approve norms against Bolivian people. Our wish is that the Bánzer Code does not continue in force. I hope that the Assembly can quickly agree on a new Code", said Morales through his official social account.


With this announcement, the leader of the Andean nation gives in to the pressure that for more than 50 days kept different civil sectors protesting against the regulations imposed by the Penal Code. Doctors and transporters are two of the guilds that raised the most their voices against the modification of Morales.


With hunger strikes, mobilizations, and mass resignations to their positions in public hospitals, health professionals in Bolivia protested against an article that was included in the questioned Penal Code. It punished with economic reparation and imprisonment, medical "bad practices" carried out by health specialists.


Marches will continue


Despite Morales' commitment to send a letter to the Legislative Assembly to invalidate the proposed controversial Penal Code, several social sectors indicated that protests will not cease until identity and democracy in the country be respected again. This statement refers to the intention of indefinite reelection that Evo Morales is trying to establish.


Bolivian Constitution allows its leaders to be re-elected only once in a row. However, Evo Morales has managed to get 3 consecutive re-elections, resulting in a 12-year mandate (2006-2010, 2010-2015, 2015-2020). As if this time was not enough, the political leader has expressed his interest to run for Office again in the next Executive Period (2019).

In 2016, Bolivian citizens decided to call for a referendum which aim to deny Evo Morales the possibility of being re-elected once again. In response to this, president´s administration introduced an appeal in the Constitutional Court that enables indefinite re-election, giving green light to Morales´ intentions to run for Office in what would be his fourth presidential term.

That is why several Bolivian opposition senators call citizens to keep on with the peaceful mobilizations that could finally invalidate Constitutional Court ruling, and thus advance in the reestablishment of “democracy and respect" in the country.

LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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