A reform seeking to rewind a controversial 2005 law that allows Colombian presidents a second term is set be sent to Congress for ratification this week.
Features of the reform
The reform, which principally seeks to end presidential and other executive reelections, expand the presidential term from four to five years, and allows current congressman to act as ministers, ambassadors and run for mayoral elections, will be debated in Congress and ultimately decided on this week.
Though the interior minister, Juan Fernando Cristo, will be pushing the reform forward, its passage is by no means guaranteed.
Senator Armando Benedetti of the coalition U Party has been outspoken in his opposition to expanding presidential terms, saying that if “we do away with reelections, there should not be a consolation prize,” he was quoted as saying by television network RCN.
There are even a growing number of voices against the bill inside the government, as its passage would imply a modification of term limits for a range of state officials, as well as major difficulties in changing the structure of existing legal frameworks in order to make the reform legal.
The reelection of presidential terms did not exist until 2005 when Congress amended the constitution to allow former President Alvaro Uribe to be reelected the year after.
The amendment has been marred by controversy, especially after two Congressmen were sentenced to prison for accepting bribes to deliver the key votes necessary for congressional approval.
The alleged bribers, former ministers Diego Palacios and Sabas Pretelt, were never formally indicted.
Critics of the constitutional amendment have long claimed the reelection terms have pushed power between the judicial, executive and legislative branch out of balance.