Colombia’s Supreme Court bars Uribe from politics

Former President Alvaro Uribe (Image: Twitter)

Colombia’s Supreme Court suspended former President Alvaro Uribe‘s decades-long political career on Wednesday, leaving the ruling Democratic Center party without leader.

In a letter to the senate, the Supreme Court formally ordered to suspend Uribe while he is under house arrest on fraud and bribery charges.

Only if the Supreme Court lifts the house arrest, drops the criminal charges or absolves Uribe may the former president resume his political activity.


Colombia’s Supreme Court places Uribe under house arrest for witness tampering


Replacement an immediate problem

In the meantime, Uribe’s far-right party may replace its leader with the senate candidate whose votes fell short to occupy the party’s 19th seat won in these elections.

This immediately caused a problem as the Senate secretary said Uribe’s party pushed forward a different person, according to newspaper El Espectador.

Consequently, Uribe’s seat will remain empty until the National Electoral Council decides who will replace the former president.


How Colombia’s former president ended up with one foot in prison


The end of Uribe’s career?

The suspension of the former president is temporary, but could effectively end Uribe’s political career that began in 1982 when late President Belisario Betancur (Conservative Party) appointed him mayor of Medellin, a position he held for only a few months.

The former president announced his resignation from the senate after the court called him to trial over the fraud and bribery investigation in 2018, but changed his mind.

Uribe later said that he would not run again in the 2022 elections assuming he won’t be either suspended or in prison.

Since the Supreme Court announced the witness tampering investigation in 2018, it has announced two more investigations, including one into the former president’s alleged involvement in a conspiracy to rig the presidential elections.

The mounting investigations are making it increasingly unlikely Uribe will be able to return to politics where he has been one of the most powerful players of the past 50 years despite his admitted ties to the Medellin Cartel and alleged ties to paramilitary organization AUC.

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