LA PAZ, Bolivia – President Evo Morales says Bolivia's new constitution will let him seek another five-year term in 2014 — even though opposition leaders insist the document rules out re-election.
The leftist former coca-grower's union leader told a news conference late Tuesday that he outmaneuvered opponents who had tried to write language into the new constitution that would block him from extending his presidency.
"The right tried to trick me but we didn't fall for that. Instead, we outfoxed them," he said. 'That is what they do not want to admit."
First elected in 2005, Morales won re-election in December under the revamped constitution approved in January 2009.
That new law allows just one re-election, and rivals say that rules him out for 2014.
But Morales said the limit doesn't apply because the vote in 2009 was his first election under the new constitution. The 2005 ballot that first brought him to the presidency doesn't count, he argued.
The dispute sets up a potential court fight.
What both sides do agree on is that Morales' camp ceded in 2008 to the opposition's insistence that the new constitution ban indefinite re-election.
Morales got 63 percent of the vote in Dec. 6, 2009 elections.
With solid support from Bolivia's indigenous majority, the Aymara Indian faces few serious challenges these days from a badly splintered opposition.