Bolivian President Evo Morales has launched his campaign for a fourth term in a remote coca-growing valley without addressing the controversial fact he is running at all.
Morales, who became the country's first indigenous president in 2006, is defying constitutional term limits.
In 2016, voters rejected his proposal to amend the constitution to let him seek another five-year term this year but he won a court ruling allowing him to on the grounds barring him would violate human rights.
Speaking before tens of thousands of people in the province of Chapare - where he first entered politics as a leader of coca farmers - Morales promised on Saturday to bring factories to rural areas and tap the country's potential as a major lithium producer.
"We're better than before, sisters and brothers," he told the cheering crowd.
One of the remaining leaders of the so-called pink tide of leftists who swept into office in South America earlier this century, Morales has remade Bolivia's status quo since taking office 13 years ago.
He has nationalised strategic resources while overseeing robust growth, cut poverty, empowered marginalised Aymara Indians and railed against US-backed policies to control coca, an Andean crop used to make cocaine.
"We still have a lot to do. Following the nationalisations, we have now started with industrialisation," Morales said.
His party argues gains for ordinary Bolivians would be erased if the right wing opposition takes power.
On the eve of his campaign launch, Morales secured the blessing of the Organization of American States, infuriating critics who see him as a threat to Bolivia's democracy.
So far, he is leading with 33 per cent support compared to his closest opponent, Carlos Mesa, at 25 per cent, according to the latest Ipsos survey.
Australian Associated Press