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Return of the dictators?

Sept 01--Colombia's Alvaro Uribe is the latest in a string of Latin American leaders to push for more time in office.

1 de septiembre de 2009

Across Latin America, presidents are pulling strings and pressuring lawmakers to change their constitutions to allow for multiple presidential terms — a trend that began in the 1990s.

Presidential re-election is a controversial issue in Latin America because many nations were ruled by abusive military dictators who refused to leave office peacefully. In addition, the courts, the media and other institutions that serve as checks on presidential power were often weak.

As a result, when democracy took hold, most of the new constitutions in these countries banned presidential re-election. But the emergence of a string of charismatic, successful leaders in the 1990s convinced politicians and voters to amend their constitutions to allow for second, and in some cases, third terms.
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