The Wall Street Journal

Foreign Investors See Risk In Colombia Pres' Possible 3rd Term

Sept 08--Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe has moved a step closer to running for a third term, but investors are debating whether it is the best option for the country.

8 de septiembre de 2009

Earlier this week, Congress approved a bill to hold a referendum on whether to allow presidentsthe option of a third term. Uribe, a popular president nearing the end of his second term, has said he won't decide whether he will run for a third until after the referendum, but indications suggest it is very likely.

"Uribe has done a very good job but no matter how good he is, there is a time to step aside," said Nick Padgett, managing director at Chicago-based Frontaura Capital, which invests in frontier markets. "Whenever presidents move to change the constitution to allow them stay it's almost always a terrible idea."

The Colombian referendum bill must be approved by the Constitutional Court before it's put to the people. If the proposal then secures majority support, Uribe would be free to run in the May 2010 presidential elections.

The experiences of Russia and Venezuela showed that modifying the constitution to benefit one person ends "badly," Padgett said.
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