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Sunday, February 7, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

Yesterday I noted that the initial report presented to the Constitutional Court in Colombia regarding the process that could lead to a referendum on re-election in Colombia was reported to be “negative.”

Today, El Tiempo published excerpts from the report (Esta es la ponencia de Humberto Sierra Porto que dice ‘no’ al referendo reeleccionista) which are summarized below.

The basics needed to understand the following:  one method of amending the Colombian constitution is a petition drive that would trigger a constitutional vote and then a Constitutional Court review and, if approved, a referendum.   The process derives from the Colombian Constitution of 1991, the procedures of which are defined by legislation (Law 134 of 1994).

Problems with the process being considered by the Court:

1.  The language on the petition differs from that passed by the Congress.  The specific language was altered in Senate committee, which raises the issue of whether the legislation passed and the referendum question that would be on the ballot comports with the petition drive. 

2.  The petition drive cost six times the legal limit for such a process.

3.  Five of the votes in the Chamber of Representatives may be invalid due to suspensions of the congresistas in question.  Without those votes, the measure did not pass the lower house.

4.  Extraordinary sessions of Congress used to debate and pass the legislation enabling the referendum were illegally called.

Now, it is up to the Court to determine whether these assertions are valid or not and therefore whether the legislation (Law 1354 of 2009) is constitutional or not.

Quite frankly, it doesn’t look too good for the referendum taking place, but we shall see.

The story also note some key dates:

March 12 is the last day that candidates not participating in party primaries on the 14th can register their candidacies.  Significant if anything because Uribe would not be participating in a primary. 

March 13:  the likely date for the referendum, if it is allowed to go forward.

March 14:  congressional elections and party primaries (for those parties utilizing this option).

May 30:  first round of presidential elections (second round held only if not candidate receives an absolute majority).

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One Response to “Re-election in Colombia”

  1. PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Colombian Constitutional Court Voting Today Says:

    [...] The Colombian Constitutional Court is voting today on the constitutionality of the re-election referendum.  If one wishes, the specific issues of the case can be be reviewed here. [...]


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