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., 106938
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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."
But opponents of the bill said its passing could lead to an erosion of democracy in Colombia and that eight years in office should be enough for the president.
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