Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Friday evening formally accepted the Constitutional Court’s rejection of the referendum to allow him to run for a third presidential term.
Speaking from Barranquilla, Uribe said that Colombia is a democratic state, with independent institutions, and when these institutions make a decision, it must be respected.
Uribe said he hoped Colombia would not abandon its path of democratic security under new leadership.
The president affirmed his love for his country and said he wants to continue serving Colombia in whatever capacity he is able.
The Constitutional Court Friday voted 7 to 2 against the referendum and called the document “unconstitutional in its entirety”.
Constitutional Court President Mauricio Gonzalez said that the court found the law, created by the government in order to call the referendum, to be unconstitutional. Thus the court found the whole referendum, by default, to be unconstitutional.
The constitutional court’s decision did not only block a president from running for a third term, it also blocks a former president from campaigning again to regain the president’s office.
Gonzalez cited also cited errors within the processing of the referendum itself, which rendered it unconstitutional.
These finding support the recommendations of Magistrate Humberto Sierra, who was appointed by the court to examine the referendum’s constitutionality.
Following the court’s ruling, Uribe’s coalition will have to seek a different candidate for the presidential elections on May 7.
They announced Thursday that they would register former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos as their presidential candidate, in the event that Uribe were ineligible to run.
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.