THE ECONOMIST | 3/1/2010 12:00:00 AM
Third time, unlucky
The courts block Álvaro Uribe from seeking a third term as Colombia's president
By a vote of 7 to 2 the court concluded that a referendum that would have sought to allow Mr Uribe to run for a third term in elections in May was unconstitutional. The court ruled that the measure was fraught with irregularities and “substantial violations to democratic principles.” With the court resolving what Mr Uribe had called his “dilemma of the soul” over whether to run again, the popular president said after the ruling that he would work for Colombia “from any trench” for the rest of his life.
The Constitutional Court approved an amendment in 2005 that allowed Mr Uribe to run for a second term, which he won in 2006. But the wording of the court’s ruling foreshadowed Friday’s decision, specifically permitting re-election only one more time. In the latest ruling the court said the proposed referendum would have attempted to change the spirit of the constitution and would have altered the system of checks and balances.
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