Colombia’s Congress approved the referendum that seeks the
re-election of President Alvaro Uribe while the finances of a preceding
referendum did not meet the legal requirements, Registry President
Carlos Ariel Sanchez said.
According to Sanchez, his office had sent a report to the Electoral Council wherein the Registry approves the validity of the 5 million signatures that were gathered to push the initiative, but that in the same report it says the organization had violated regulations on the financing of the referendum. The Electoral Council is still officially investigating the matter and can nullify the referendum, because of the financial failures.
The possible financial fraud of the referendum is one of the arguments used by opposition Representative German Navas Tolero (Polo Democratico) in his criminal complaint against 86 of his colleagues who, according to the lawmaker, illegally approved the planned referendum while knowing that the process did not meet the legal requirements.
The fear to be dismissed from Congress if the Supreme Court decided to open an official investigation into the alleged illegal vote led to many coalition Representatives to unofficially withdraw their support for the referendum and makes them weary to approve it again in the scheduled inter-chamber commission that has the final vote on the subject.
According to House President German Varon, the lawmakers’ fear for an investigation or even a conviction by Supreme Court now is more substantiated than it was before.
The final vote on the referendum is most likely to be held after Congress’ summer recess end on July 20. It is unknown when either the Electoral Council or the Supreme Court speak out respectively on the validity of the previous referendum and the alleged illegality of the approval of the next one.