Eight Representatives of the House withdrew and two called in sick
for Tuesday’s vote on the referendum needed to allow President Alvaro
Uribe a third term in 2010, the House President announced Tuesday.
To approve the referendum, the coalition requires a majority of 84 votes. However, 86 coalition Representatives who voted in favor of the referendum in an earlier round are now under investigation by the Supreme Court for allegedly illegally approving the bill. They fear losing their seat if the Supreme Court decides to call the lawmakers to trial.
Coalition party De la U sent former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos to Congress for a last-minute lobby for the approval of the bill.
If the House passes the bill, the Constitutional Court must ratify the constitutionality of the bill before a referendum can be held. If it goes ahead, the referendum will ask Colombians if they want the President to be allowed three consecutive terms.