Colombia is waiting with bated breath for one of the most important decisions in the country’s recent political history.
100 Colombian and foreign journalists are assembled at a press conference in Bogota, awaiting a decision from Colombia’s Constitutional Court on the legality of a referendum on allowing President Alvaro Uribe to stand for a third term.
The court convened at 9 AM to vote on the controversial bill. The press conference was scheduled for 12 PM but was postponed until 2.30 PM.
After four hours of deliberation, the nine magistrates studying the case took a recess. They will reportedly reconvene at 2.30 PM to begin the voting process.
It is not known at what time they will address the press conference.
Uribe, who is in Barranquilla attending a seminar on Colombia’sailing health service, is expected to make a television appearance later today.
El Tiempo reports that key Uribistas know that the referendum was not passed and are formulating a plan B.
Colombian media are speculating that the vote may be postponed until Monday.
Uribe wants to run for a third term in office, which is prohibited by the constitution. The Constitutional Court has studied the referendum bill which proposes allowing Uribe to stand for his second re-election, to determine if it is constitutional. If the bill is approved, the referendum will then have to be held before the presidential elections in May.
CM& predicted earlier today that the nine magistrates who studied the bill will vote 8-1 or 7-2 against the referendum.
Partido de la U announced Thursday they will register former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos as a presidential candidate, and withdraw him from the running if Uribe’s re-election is approved.
Uribe on Wednesday rejected criticisms that a third term in office as president would undermine democratic institutions in Colombia.