Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Wednesday rejected criticisms that it would undermine democratic institutions in Colombia if he were to serve a third term as president.
Speaking at a forum at the Javeriana University in Bogota, Uribe said he is exercising “prudence” so as not to influence the Constitutional Court’s evaluation of the re-election referendum.
However the president also stressed, making reference to magistrate Humberto Sierra’s negative comments on the referendum, that he doesn’t accept arguments that his re-election would negatively affect Colombian democracy.
“I think it’s fine for Colombians to say if they agree or disagree with the re-election… but what is wrong is to suggest arguments that have nothing to do with reality, like that it affects institutions,” he said.
In October 2009, a study found that after Uribe’s seven and a half years in power the Presidency had control over eight state institutions that should be functioning independently.
The President was able to increase his influence in the National Electoral Council, the National Television Commission, the Ombudsman, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Superior Judicial Council, the Constitutional Court and the Central Bank, the researchers of the Center of Law, Justice and Society said.
Uribe wants to run for a third term in office, which is prohibited by the constitution. The Constitutional Court is studying a referendum bill proposing Uribe’s re-election, to determine if it is constitutional. If the bill is approved, the referendum will then have to be held before the presidential elections in May.
The Constitutional Court appointed magistrate Sierra to study the referendum. Sierra found the document seeking Uribe’s re-election to be unconstitutional.
The court will vote on the referendum Friday morning, El Tiempo reported Wednesday.