Colombia’s Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia claimed on Thursday that the referendum needed for a second re-election bid by President Alvaro Uribe can be completed within a month.
According to the minister, “the law” states that one month is enough time to plan and hold a popular vote on the constitutional change needed for a possible re-election.
Valencia’s concise interpretation of Colombian law was in response to a statement made last week by Carlos Ariel Sanchez, the national registrar. Sanchez had warned that at least three months were legally required to set up such a referendum, and that any less would be “anti-democratic.”
Dates and timeframes play such an important role in this electoral process because candidates for the presidency must be registered by April 5. The Constitutional Court is only beginning to debate the legality of the referendum next week, as the time available for Uribe supporters to hold it, and register their candidate if he wins, shrinks ever-smaller.