But since then, Morales – Bolivia's first indigenous president – has claimed to have been the victim of a coup d'état.
"It was a national and international coup d'etat," Morales told the AFP news agency in an exclusive interview in Buenos Aires, where he has been living in exile after claiming asylum. "Industrialised countries don't want competition."
Morales said Washington had not "forgiven" his country for choosing to seek lithium extraction partnerships with Russia and China rather than the US.
"That's why I'm absolutely convinced it's a coup against lithium," he said.
"We as a state had begun industrialising lithium... As a small country of 10 million inhabitants, we were soon going to set the price of lithium. They know we have the greatest lithium reserves in the world of 16,000 square kilometres (over 6,100 square miles)."
Bolivia does have the largest confirmed lithium resources in the world, but they are widely thought to be of poor quality, and the country lacks the infrastructure to exploit them profitably.
Whoever the candidate is, Morales says he wants the next election to be monitored by foreign organisations.
"There needs to be an international mission, international organisations like the Carter Center, a committee of Nobel Peace Prize winners, Pope Francis, the United Nations, or some well-known global" organisation, said Morales.
"Despite so much defamation and persecution and still without a candidate, we're still first in right-wing polls, which is surprising. If MAS wins the election, the results have to be respected. We'll respect them."
Morales was likely referring to a recent poll in Pagina Siete newspaper – a publication against which he ordered a criminal investigation in 2012, having accused it of being an instrument of Chile's far right.
In that poll, Andronico Rodíiguez, the 30-year-old coca-growers union leader widely expected to be the MAS presidential candidate, came top with 23 percent ahead of former president Carlos Mesa at 21.
Mesa was the candidate beaten into second place by Morales in October's election.
One group Morales didn't include in his observation wish list was the OAS, whose general secretary Luis Almagro accused the socialist leader of being the orchestrator of a coup by standing in the last election despite being constitutionally barred from doing so.
Dozens of people were killed in clashes after the OAS audit's findings were published.