Colombia’s Constitutional Court appointed magistrate Humberto Sierra Porto study the bill that calls for a referendum on President Alvaro Uribe’s possibility to run for president again in 2010.
The decision is the first formal step of the Court in a process resulting in a ruling on the constitutionality of the referendum.
After the six weeks the Prosector General has to advise on the bill, Sierra will have another six weeks to study the bill and present his results to the remaining members of the court. The plenary of the court will then have 12 weeks to rule on the referendum.
If the Court takes the time allowed, this process lasts five and a half months and the referendum can not be held until March, two months before the elections. After the popular vote, the National Electoral Council and the National Registry will have to approve the results before the constitutional change on Uribe’s possible third term is allowed.
The court had said it will consider shortening the procedure to avoid Uribe’s re-election is approved after his possibility to officially annouce his candidacy.
Uribe will not say anything about his presidential aspirations until after the Colombian people approved of his third possible bid, Interior Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio said earlier, but the President is constitutionally obliged to officially announce his candidacy before December.