Colombia’s Conservative Party does not support a vote on the
constitutional change needed for President Uribe to be re-elected in
2010. Instead they want to amend an existing law making it able for the
popular president to run in 2014.
Senator Efrain Cepeda Sarabia, chairman of the conservatives and part of the Uribista coalistion, goes along with the President’s wish to not let the recently held popular referendum block the government proposed judicial and political reforms. The Conservative Party wants to include a change of article 197 of Colombia’s constitution in the reform that will allow a president to run again after the absence of one term.
Congress itself will have to vote about ignoring the popular call for a constitutional change. President Uribe had already signaled he prefered the congressional debate about the referendum to be withdrawn to not delay the in his eyes essential reforms of the political and judicial system.
The reforms have received criticism from human rights groups and the opposition who claim they are meant to protect the politicians currently under investigation to far right paramilitary groups. The government itself claims the changes are needed for these politicians to receive a fair trial and to prevent paramilitary influence in Congress in the future.