The organizers of a referendum needed for the 2010 re-election bid of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe vowed to appeal the country’s Electoral Council’s decision to declare the recollection of signatures calling for the referendum invalid.
The Elector Council on Thursday ruled the signatures were invalid because of irregularities in the financing of the private initiative: the organizers allowed companies to donate more money than legally allowed.
According to Colombia Primero, a foundation set up to secure the re-election of the President, the Electoral Council can not nullify the results of the vote because of its finances and is only allowed to nullify the results in the case of electoral fraud.
Moreover, the Elector Council made a mistake by appointing three magistrates to rule on the validity of the signatures, the Uribistas say. They claim the Electoral Council as a whole should have voted on the project.
The future of the referendum meanwhile is more insecure than ever. Congress already approved the referendum disregarding a possible negative ruling by the Electoral Council. The Colombian Supreme Court is investating if coalition lawmakers broke the law approving the referendum bill while having no certainty if the previous step had been taken correctly and the Constitutional Court is still studying the constitutionality of the bill.
The Presidential elections will be held in May 2010. Unless the coalition that supports Uribe is able to get Colombians to say “yes” to the constitutional change needed for Uribe’s third term in the referendum, the popular President will not be able to run again.