Bolivia's constitutional court has said that President Evo Morales can run for a third term in elections set for December 2014.

The court's ruling on Monday said language in the country's 2009 constitution that allows for only a single re-election does not apply retroactively to Morales' first term.

Morales, who is Bolivia's first indigenous president, first won election in December 2005 - before the new constitution was enacted. He then was re-elected in a landslide in 2009.

However in the ruling, the country's Constitutional Court said the clock started ticking after the new constitution was signed into law, meaning that next year's vote will be legally counted as Morales' first re-election.

"The presidential term is computed from the time of the adoption of the new constitution," Constitutional Court president Ruddy Flores told reporters.

Opposition leaders disagreed with the decision, saying the ruling was evidence that Bolivia's courts are under Morales' sway.

"The constitution is very clear in that there can only be one re-election. If Evo Morales wants a second re-election he should have to change the constitution again," said Samuel Doria Medina, leader of the center-right National Unity Party.

Morales has nationalised private companies as part of his policy of increasing state control over the economy and has won plaudits from Wall Street credit rating agencies for sound fiscal management and for building up record central bank reserves.

Source: Agencies