efe-epaLa Paz

Evo Morales celebrated this Tuesday his 13 years as president - the longest tenure in Bolivian history - with a message of continuity for his economic and social policies, while hoping to govern until 2025.

In a speech to Congress, Morales did not expressly refer to this year's October elections, when he will run for reelection, instead offering details about the projects his government will pursue if he remains in power until 2025.

"We in the government guarantee..." he said to introduce the specific elements of his "grand economic project" to be carried out between now and 2025, the bicentennial of Bolivian independence.

Among them, he noted that "the economy will keep growing in a sustained manner" to remain the leader in South America - the country had a 4.5 percent economic growth in 2018 - which will allow Bolivians' wages to keep rising, while social welfare "will continually improve," like the programs for education and seniors.

"The poor and the lowly will continue to be a government priority," he said.

Morales seeks reelection with a candidacy considered illegal by the opposition, who demand respect for the constitutional limit of two consecutive terms and a referendum that in 2016 rejected the elimination of that limitation.

If he wins in October, Morales will begin his fourth straight term in office, supported by a Constitutional Court ruling that established the right to unlimited reelections.

The president faces a test in next Sunday's primaries, when members of the governing Movement toward Socialism (MAS) party will decide whether his candidacy should proceed or not.

Most of his speech acclaimed his economic and social achievements in these 13 years, and recalled star projects of his government like the industrialization of lithium, for which he has set the years 2019-2020, along with certain new measures like an anti-corruption commission.

The celebration included a parade in front of Congress of social organizations with links to MAS, traditional Pachamama (Mother Earth) ceremonies, folk culture and the formal progress from the nearby Government Palace escorted by the presidential guard.