Colombia term rule change closer

Sept 02--Colombia's lower house has approved a bill which paves the way for President Alvaro Uribe to seek a third consecutive term in office., 106937

2 de septiembre de 2009

The controversial bill, passed after more than 12 hours of debate, must now go before the constitutional court before being put to a referendum.

Mr Uribe has not yet said whether he intends to stand in the next election, scheduled to take place in May 2010.

But critics say a regular change in leadership is important for democracy.

Lawmakers in the lower house voted 85-5 in favour of the bill, which was approved by the Senate in May.

"The Congress has fulfilled its duty," said pro-Uribe lawmaker Santiago Castro.

"It's up to the Colombian people now to define the fate of the re-election at the polls."
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