The Interior Minister of Colombia has filed a proposal for a law allowing current mayors and governors to be reelected for three years in order to have their terms coincide with future administrations, according to local media.
Juan Fernando Cristo, the minister who filed the proposed law last Friday, said that the current system of overlapping terms at different levels of government generates “enormous difficulties, not only of coordination, but also of the efficacy of public policy,” according to El Espectador.
After this special three-year term, elected officials would return to the four-year mandates which are the constitutional norm. Controversially, current mayors and governors will be allowed to stand for reelection in this exceptional three-year term, taking into account that it would be a “period of transition.”
Some are questioning the manner in which Cristo proposed the law, which was discreetly filed on Friday and only made known to lawmakers through the media this week.
Senator Armando Bendetti, part the government’s ruling coalition, said he was “perplexed” by the law and said it could be an “atomic bomb against the Balance of Powers reform.”
Bendetti was referring to the package of reforms proposed by the government which has generated a number of controversies, including the creation of a “super court” and the elimination of reelection for several top government officials.
Bendetti said that this proposal by Cristo could be the “Frankenstein” which could derail the entire Balance of Powers reform package.
He was referring to a previous attempt to pass judicial reform that was unsuccessful due to a congressional committee’s insertion of unconstitutional amendments into the text during a closed-door reconciliation session.
There are fears a similar situation could happen this time around.