Colombian Constitutional Court rejects re enactment of Uribe´s re-election in 2006
Caracas, Venezuela, 4 July 2008. According to Colombian pro government newspaper El Tiempo, and the context of the recent liberation of FARC hostages peacefully, the Constitutional Court decided to reject the re enactment of Uribe re-election in 2006. Last week, the Supreme Court issued a condemning verdict over an MP who was bribed by the government to cast her vote in favour of a second term of incumbent President Alvaro Uribe. This case called the Yidisgate proved rather dangerous for Uribe. The Supreme Court asked the constitutional instance to revise such electoral act. However, eight out of nine magistrates considered that repeating the re-election could not be possible. Conditions could not be repeated. Furthermore, there is no legal provision to back such re-enactment.
In reaction to the Supreme Court action on his re-election, President Uribe procured a confrontation among the different powers in Colombia. Uribe asked Colombian Congress -where he enjoys a majority- to call a referendum to repeat his 2006 re-election. Such move was heavily criticised.
Amid the political crisis came the touch of grace. The army managed to liberate 15 FARC hostages peacefully. Among the liberated were Ingrid Betancourt and three American citizens. Such action has submerged the Uribe´s administration in a festive popular atmosphere. Since her liberation from FARC captivity, Ex presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt hailed both Uribe and the re-election mechanism in Colombia. But it is unclear how much time, the liberation and Betancourt comments would buy for Uribe. The Supreme Court could find ways to challenge the legitimacy of Uribe government. In addition, it could make his tenure in power rather uncomfortable. On the other hand, President Uribe promises to reform the Justice System and the Supreme Court. It is still too early to determine if Ingrid Betancourt would challenge Uribe in two years time when his second term in office is due.
Related stories: Colombia: Betancourt, US hostages freed, Colombian President Uribe calls for Referendum amid political crisis (updated), Colombian Yidisgate continues to shake Uribe government (updated)