The president of Colombia’s senate would like to get rid of presidential reelection and see it replaced with a single five year presidential term, local media reported late on Wednesday.
Congress President and staunch ally of President Juan Manuel Santos, Juan Fernando Cristo is in full support of the President’s proposal to eliminate presidential reelection.
President Santos proposed in February and reiterated this week, to extend the terms for presidents, governors, and mayors and ban reelection. Such reforms would have regional elections coincide with national elections, making government and coordination more efficient.
“This project has the support of all the parties in the Santos coalition and I am sure that it will also have the support of opposition parties such as the POLO and the Green Alliance that during the elections also expressed their disapproval of the current process,” said Senator Cristo.
According to Bogota‘s Radio Santa Fe, Senator Cristo believes that a presidential term should be for five years because “that way we can guarantee a sufficient time period for a government to execute policies and promises, while also refreshing out democratic system because reelection has done a lot of damage to the country and generated all sorts of inconveniences for our democracy.”
The 2014 presidential election between incumbent Juan Manuel Santos and extreme-right candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga was widely considered as being the dirtiest campaign in recent Colombian political history. Both sides accused each other of crimes such as espionage, bribery, and vote buying.
A second presidential term used to be prohibited in Colombia until former president and senator elect Alvaro Uribe passed a controversial constitutional amendment allowing him to run for a second term.
Senator Cristo hopes that by July 20, a bill will be presented to congress by the government to make the reelection issue part of the next congress’s agenda, according to Radio Santa Fe.
The senate president made it clear that any changes wouldn’t take effect until the next presidential election in 2018. The second term of President Santos would not be affected by any such law.
Cristo also said that reforms would have to go beyond simply eliminating a second presidential term. “There has to be a revision of how the justice system, and other political control mechanisms function,” said Cristo according to Radio Santa Fe.