Supreme Court investigates Congress’ approval of re-election referendum

The Colombian Supreme Court will use the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s re-election referendum to advance proceedings against the 86 Congressmen who voted in favor of the illegal bill.

The Constitutional Court last Friday found that law 1354, created by the government in December 2008, in order to call the referendum, to be unconstitutional.

The Court’s findings back up a complaint by Polo Democratico Representative German Navas Talero, who says 86 coalition Representatives of the House committed a crime by voting in favor of the referendum, because they knew the bill didn’t meet the legal requirements.

Navas Talero alleges the referendum was illegal because it was not certified by the National Registry or the Electoral Commission before its approval by Congress.

The Supreme Court will also investigate the Constitutional Court’s evidence that the funding received to finance the referendum was 30 times over the legal financial limit.

According to the Constitutional Court, $1 million was spent on acquiring the signatures necessary for the referendum. The legal cap for the process is less than $200,000.

Last Friday nine Constitutional magistrates voted 7 to 2 against the referendum to allow Uribe to run for presidency and called the document “unconstitutional in its entirety.”

Uribe sought to run for a third term in office, which is prohibited by the constitution. The Constitutional Court studied the referendum bill which proposed allowing Uribe to stand for his second re-election, to determine if the document was constitutional.

86 House of Representatives coalition members voted in favor of approving the referendum on December 17, 2008. The bill was passed 86 – 0 because the opposition boycotted the vote.

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