Latin America & Caribbean

Bolivia's Evo Morales rules out fourth term

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Media captionEvo Morales told the BBC that he will not seek another term in office

Bolivian President Evo Morales has ruled out running for a fourth term in office in 2020, as exit polls from Sunday's election suggest he has won an unprecedented third spell as leader.

He told the BBC that by 2020 he was more likely to want to return to work on his farm in Central Bolivia, and spend his time visiting old friends.

Mr Morales has governed since 2006.

His critics have accused him of becoming increasingly autocratic and seeking to prolong his time in office.

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Image caption Mr Morales was first elected president in 2005 and took up office in 2006

Mr Morales said that the government plans he had proposed during his campaign were not tied to him personally being in power.

"I understand this Latin American way of thinking that everything is always about a single person, but I don't like it," he told BBC Mundo's Ignacio de los Reyes in La Paz.

"This is a government plan, it is not the plan of a [specific] president. Whoever comes after 2020 will need to commit to our patriotic agenda, therefore there is no need for Evo to be president until 2025."

He said he had not even considered changing the constitution to allow him to stand for a fourth term.

He said that by 2020 he would be looking forward to returning to the rural area of Central Bolivia where he grew up.

"My big desire is to go back to Chapare, improve my farm, maybe build a couple of cabins to welcome former presidents," he said.

He also suggested paying a visit to allies such as former Brazilian President Lula and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.

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Image caption Votes from Sunday's presidential election are still being counted but exit polls show Mr Morales in the lead

Exit polls from Sunday's election suggest Mr Morales won 60% of the votes, well ahead of his closest rival's 25%.

To avoid a run-off, he must win 50% of valid votes, or 40% if that includes a 10-point lead over his nearest rival.

His main rival, Samuel Doria Medina, acknowledged defeat on Monday.

Official counting is still under way.

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