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| 3/4/2010 12:00:00 AM

After Uribe

March 4--Suddenly, a wide-open race among half-a-dozen would-be successors.

FOR months Colombian politics has come down to just one question: would Álvaro Uribe, the country’s tough and popular president, succeed in his effort to change the constitution to allow him to run for a third term at a presidential election in May? Such has been Mr Uribe’s sway over his country’s institutions that many pundits assumed the answer was yes. But when it finally came on February 26th the ruling by the Constitutional Court was a rejection sufficiently emphatic as to seem inevitable in retrospect. And with that Colombia finds itself suddenly contemplating a wide-open election.

The court ruled by seven to two that the re-election law would have violated the spirit of the constitution as well as being vitiated by irregularities and “substantial violations of democratic principles”. Their verdict means that Mr Uribe is barred from ever seeking the presidency again, not just this year. This spirited defence of judicial independence and checks and balances was met by immediate, if emotional, acquiescence from the president. The important thing, he said, was that his “democratic security” policy, which has beaten back left-wing guerrillas and demobilised right-wing paramilitaries, should continue.
 
Read more here.
 
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EDICIÓN 1855

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