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| 3/1/2010 12:00:00 AM

Third time, unlucky

The courts block Álvaro Uribe from seeking a third term as Colombia's president

Colombia's Constitutional Court, by blocking President Álvaro Uribe from seeking the presidency ever again, resolved the two-time leader’s quandary over whether to try to stay in power or leave with his legacy intact. The country had been on tenterhooks for months while it awaited the approaching decision of the court which finally made its ruling late on Friday February 26th.

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.
 
Read more here.
 
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