Only minutes before the deadline at 4AM Wednesday, Colombian Congress approved
the constitutional change needed for the 2014 re-election of President Álvaro Uribe.
The deadline originally was set at midnight and was not going to be made, but through intervention of the government — that officially is not in favor or against a re-election of the President — the House was not allowed to leave until there had been a vote.
The bill was approved with 84 votes in favor and 0 against after the opposition parties decided not to participate in the vote. The referendum still barely made it, because for a constitutional change a minimum of 83 votes is necessary.
The opposition announced it will appeal the ratification of the bill before the Supreme Court, because coalition representatives who had earlier said they were prevented to vote, ended up voting in favor of the bill. Without their votes the referendum would not have made it past the House.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where some of Uribe’s most
ardent supporters will try to amend it to open the door to a
2010 re-election or introduce a new measure to that end.
The constitutional change had been demanded through a popular referendum, which recently came under scrutiny. The main sponsor of the popular vote so far has not been able to clarify where it got the money to fund the referendum.