Colombia’s Constitutional Court Friday voted against a referendum on allowing President Alvaro Uribe a second re-election bid, local media report. Following the court’s ruling, Uribe’s coalition will have to seek a different candidate for the presidential elections on May 7.
The court has voted but has not yet officially announced the result. Local media are reporting that the magistrates voted 7 to 2, or 6 to 3, against the referendum.
The magistrates are expected to officially announce their decision at a press conference in Bogota at any moment.
The court was deliberating on whether the referendum to allow Uribe’s re-election was constitutional, and not on whether a third term is constitutional.
This means that Uribe could hypothetically call another referendum and if it is passed, run for the presidency in 2014. There is not enough time to hold another referendum before the 2010 elections on May 7.
Partido de la U must now fall back on a Plan B and are expected to register former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos as their presidential candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in May.
“I am angered and saddened,” Senator Armando Benedetti, one of Uribe’s most fervent supporters told Colombia Reports.
“The fault lies within the president’s inner circle, because the guys who collected the funds, and who collected the signatures, and the guys in the Interior Ministry, were a bunch of morons. Total morons,” Benedetti said.
Uribe, who is in Barranquilla attending a seminar on Colombia’s ailing health service, is expected to give a reaction to the ruling this evening or Saturday morning.
Uribe sought to run for a third term in office, which is prohibited by the constitution. The Constitutional Court studied the referendum bill which proposed allowing Uribe to stand for his second re-election, to determine if the document were constitutional.