The European Union’s delegation to Bolivia has lodged a protest with the government for its use of an image of its ambassador, Timothy Torlot, in a referendum campaign that will decide if President Evo Morales may stand again in 2019.
On Tuesday (12 January), Torlot sent a letter to Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca to express “a formal protest,” said the delegation’s spokesperson, Walter Mur
The image of Torlot and a statement regarding economic growth has been distributed en masse by the Bolivian President’s supporters on social networks with a call to vote “yes” in the referendum.
“Torlot made a statement a few days ago about the performance of the economy, but these have nothing to do with giving support to a political or referendum campaign,” said Mur.
The ambassador made a positive assessment of the South American country’s economic performance over the last few years, even having an adverse effect on other countries.
In the letter, Torlot said that diplomats cannot participate in the internal political affairs of countries.
On 21 February, Bolivians will vote in a referendum on the government’s proposal to amend Article 168 of the Constitution in order to allow Morales and his Vice-President Álvaro Garcia Linera to stand in the 2019 elections.
Both have been in power since 2006 and are aiming for a fourth consecutive term in 2020-2025, although a Constitutional Court ruling would actually label this term as if it were still the third.
Morales’ rationale is that the first period, 2006-2010, does not count because it was prior to the 2009 referendum in which the country was refounded as a plurinational state.