Supporters of the re-election of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe
say the project to push a referendum needed for a re-election is “in
Intensive Care” and even “dead”. The supporters are negative after an
unexpected breach of a pact between the government and Congress about
who will preside over the Senate and House the coming year.
Against the will of the government, both the House and the Senate Monday voted different presidents than agreed upon in a deal made at the beginning of the four years of Uribe’s second government.
This breach of the convenant, combined with increasing critique over the handling of the referendum by Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio and the reluctance of Uribe himself to speak out on his 2010 aspirations cause unrest among lawmakers that want to see Uribe rule Colombia for another four years.
The surprising move of Congress adds to unrest about a Supreme Court investigation against all 86 members of the House of Representatives who voted in favor of the referendum, while the Electoral Council had not yet approved the preceding referendum and was investigating alleged financial fraud with the organization of the project. The lawmakers fear a massive suspension and have been reluctant to move the bill forward.
Senator Marco Alirio Cortes of coalition member Partido de la U told Caracol Radio the referendum is in “intensive care” because of difficulties within the coalition about who is supporting the re-election and who is not.
Alfonso Valdiviedo of coalition party Cambio Radical, whose leader is a candidate for the presidency, said the situation is critical, but that the most important thing is to move forward with the last Congressional vote on the topic, because the Constitutional Court has to approve the constitutionality of the bill too.
Armando Benedetti, also of Partido de la U,is convinced the referendum has been dead for a while already, because of bad management by Valencia Cossio, who was responsible for guiding the bill through Congress. “Fabio Valencia killed the referendum,” the Congressman said.
The House and Senate both appointed members that will take part in a commission that will have to vote over the referendum.After this, the bill will be sent to the Constitutional Court. When the court allows the bill, a referendum can be held to call for a change in the constitution needed for Uribe to serve as President for a third time.