Partido de la U announced they will register former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos as a presidential candidate amid serious concerns that the referendum seeking Colombian President Alvaro Uribe‘s re-election won’t be approved.
Uribe’s supporters declare that they do not have a Plan B, if the re-election referendum – which the Constitutional Court will vote on today – is not approved.
However they are registering Santos as a presidential candidate, and will then withdraw him from the running if Uribe’s re-election is approved, former presidential advisor Jose Obdulio Gaviria announced following a meeting of Uribe’s closest advisors and supporters in Bogota on Thursday night.
The decision follows a clarification by Colombia’s National Registrar Carlos Ariel Sanchez Thursday that all aspirants to the presidency, including Uribe, must register their candidacy by March 12. This means that Urbistas only have two weeks to select and register their presidential candidate.
Colombian media are predicting that the Constitutional Court will not approve the controversial bill.
“Let’s just say that the Uribista faction is going to register candidates at the opportune time within the limit established by the law, but that doesn’t mean that this is an irreversible decision, because if constitutional conditions allow the president to run, the leader of ‘Uribismo’ is the president and he will be the candidate,” Gaviria explained.
Uribe’s former advisor added that according to the electoral code, presidential candidates must register by March 12 but one candidate can withdraw and pass on his candidacy to another until May 10.
Uribe wants to run for a third term in office, which is prohibited by the constitution. The Constitutional Court has studied the 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 court will meet at 9 AM Friday to vote on the referendum.