The Colombian Catholic Church spoke out on Friday against the referendum on a third term in office for President Alvaro Uribe, saying the issue is polarizing Colombia, which is “harmful.”
Archbishop Ruben Salazar responded to Uribe’s comment earlier on Friday that “eight years is little time to regain security.”
Salazar appealed to candidates and voters in the upcoming election before casting their vote to “not be swayed by any pressures and to assess the curriculum vitae of the person you vote for”.
The Archbishop said that Colombia needs to look beyond a potential third term for Uribe and address greater problems affecting the nation because “the country is very polarized by the re-election issue and this is harmful.”
However, Salazar added that “if President Uribe launches himself again as a candidate – if the Constitutional Court permits it – and if the people elect him again, we will recognize the legitimacy of this process.”
The Constitutional Court today officially began debating whether to allow a referendum on changing the constitution to let Uribe stand for re-election.
The magistrate appointed by the Constitutional Court to examine the referendum said last week that the referendum had “extremely serious” errors which render it unconstitutional, and wants the controversial initiative to be scrapped.
Recent polls indicate that Uribe has lost majority support for a third presidential term.
Uribe announced Monday that he has chosen a potential successor for the coming May elections if he is not eligible to run, but did not say who this successor would be.