Colombia’s House of Representatives resumed the session on the
referendum on the re-election possibility for President Alvaro Uribe.
The House failed to vote on the bill in two previous sessions because
the majority of Representatives claimed to be impeded to vote.
The bill was expected to be voted on Monday last week already, but was held back when 106
of the 166 Representatives said to be impeded. Only ten of these
impediments could be dealt with in the first session and even after the
second session some 40 impediments were still to be voted on.
The impediments will have to be voted one one by one before the House can continue to vote on the actual referendum bill.
Most impediments came from coalition Representatives who claim a preliminary investigation by the Supreme Court into their allegedly illegal approval of the referendum is preventing them for a vote. The same coalition representatives are now allowing their impeded colleagues to vote.
According to the government, the plan to allow Uribe to run for a third term has enough support in the House and will be approved.
The referendum bill is surrounded by scandals and the opposition
accuses the coalition of fraud, unconstitutional actions and bribery.
gathering of votes calling for the referendum violated financial
regulation, which led to a criminal complaint by an opposition lawmaker
after his colleagues approved the referendum. Because of the initial
formulation the referendum would allow Uribe to run for re-election,
but not until 2014. The text was altered by the Senate to allow Uribe
to be re-elected in 2010.
Presidential candidate for the
Liberal Party, Rafael Pardo, accuses Senators of having been able to
enrich themselves with government funds after their approval and
another presidential candidate, German Vargas Lleras of Cambio Radical,
said government institutions have offered well-paid positions to
Representatives if they approved the bill.
President Uribe himself has not yet explicitly expressed if he aspires to run in May 2010 for his third term.