Friday, February 26, 2010

Colombia court rejects Uribe's re-election

BOGOTA (FIX International) - Colombia's constitutional court on Friday rejected a referendum to allow President Alvaro Uribe's re-election in a ruling that effectively ends his chance of seeking a third consecutive term in May.

The decision marks the start of a tough campaign among rivals seeking to replace Uribe, who after almost eight years in power became one of the country's most popular presidents for his U.S.-backed campaign against leftist guerrillas.

The court backed a previous recommendation from one of the judges that it should reject the referendum because of irregularities ranging from the financing of the campaign to support re-election to its rocky passage through Congress.

Under Uribe, Latin America's oldest insurgency has ebbed and foreign investment has flowed steadily into Colombia, a country once considered a byword for a failed state. Many Colombians praised Uribe as the man who steered the country onto the right track.

Any candidate to replace Uribe will likely not steer too far from his security policies, although most say they will seek to focus more on social development in the world's No. 3 coffee exporter and Latin America's No. 4 oil producer.

His former defense minister, Juan Manuel Santos, closely associated with Uribe's security successes against FARC leftist guerrillas, leads in most opinion polls when Uribe is no longer included as a candidate.

Fernando IX University

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