Colombia’s House of Representatives Tuesday approved the bill that calls
for a referendum on a constitutional change to allow President Alvaro
Uribe to be elected into office for a third consecutive term. The bill
will now be tested by the Constitutional Court.
The referendum was approved with 85 against 5 after the opposition decided to refuse to vote.
The approval of the referendum was delayed for months, because of numerous judicial and political setbacks.
86 Representatives of the House are subject to a preliminary investigation by the Supreme Court for the allegedly illegal approval of the bill in a previous round. The bill caused a rift in the coalition as Cambio Radical opposes a third consecutive term for Uribe and both coalition Senators as Representatives are accused of having received government bribes to reward their approval of the bill.
If the Constitutional Court ratifies the referendum, the Colombian people will be asked if a President may be allowed to serve three straight terms, allowing the current President to run for a third term in the 2010 elections.
Uribe, who had instructed Interior and Justice Minister to coordinate the referendum’s way through Congress, has not yet openly expressed if he aspires a third term. He is expected to do so this month.