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Bolivia Holds Referendum for 4th Term for Morales

A coca farmer welcomes Bolivia's President Evo Morales, center, as he arrives to a polling station to vote in Villa 14 de Septiembre, in the Chapare region, Feb. 21, 2016.

Bolivia is holding a referendum Sunday to decide whether to amend the constitution to allow President Evo Morales to run for a fourth consecutive term in 2019.

Voters were evenly spilt on the issue until recently.

Now, however, a growing number of Bolivians are starting to doubt the integrity of the country's first indigenous president after it was revealed the company a former girlfriend of Morales works for has won lucrative contracts.

It was also revealed that the girlfriend and Morales had a baby in 2007 who died under unexplained circumstances.

Morales says the charges are dirty tactics designed to divert attention from his achievements in cutting Bolivia's extreme poverty and empowering the country's indigenous majority during a decade in office.

Last week, supporters of the president were accused of setting fire to a local opposition government office in which six people died.

John Crabtree, a Latin-American political analyst, told Reuters Sunday's vote "looks like being a much closer-run contest than anything Evo Morales has had to fight since he became president in 2006."

Some material for this report came from AP and Reuters.