Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Tuesday ratified the bill that calls for a referendum about whether he should be allowed to run for a third term in 2010, despite threats by the opposition they would sue him if he did.
According to several media, the President ratified the referendum in the afternoon, only hours after Polo Democratico Representative German Reyes warned the President that the opposition party would sue him before the House’s Accusations Committee.
The social-democratic opposition party argues that Uribe is impeded to ratify the law, because it benefits him.
The Presidency wrote to the lawmaker that it sees no problem in signing the law, as the bill allows a referendum on the second re-election of any President, not Uribe personally.
The bill will now be sent to the Constitutional Court, which will test the constitutionality of the referendum. The Court has announced it will consider a shorter review procedure, because of the limited time available for a referendum to take place if it is approved by the Court.
According to Interior Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio, Uribe will not declare his 2010 aspirations until after the referendum is held, but is legally obliged to announce his candidacy before November 30. This means the referendum needs to be approved by the Court, held, and draw at least 7.5 million Colombians to the polling booth, agreed upon by the majority of voters and ratified by the electoral council before December.
The electoral council however has not approved the finances of the recollection of signatures needed for the referendum to be processed in Congress, even though it officially received this request two months ago.
Colombia’s presidential election will be held in May 2010.