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Colombian Reelection Law Upheld

November 12, 2005|From Times Wire Services

BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia's Constitutional Court approved a law Friday that will allow popular President Alvaro Uribe, a close ally of the United States, to run for a second four-year term in May, said the court's president, Manuel Jose Cepeda.

Uribe has a 70% approval rating, thanks largely to his tough policies against Marxist rebels fighting a four-decade war. Opinion polls show him well in the lead for next year's vote.

The court's judges voted 7-2 that the Electoral Guarantees Law is constitutional.

That law, passed by Congress last year, established the rules for presidents to compete in elections. It includes provisions that aim to ensure that presidents do not abuse their powers to gain unfair advantage.

The court last month approved a constitutional amendment allowing presidents to serve more than one term, but Uribe might have been barred from the next election anyway if the court had rejected the Electoral Guarantees Law.

In the three years since Uribe came to power, crime has dropped, the Colombian economy has improved and the army has expelled the guerrillas from many of their traditional strongholds.

Colombia has received billions of dollars from Washington to aid its fight against the rebels and drug traffickers.

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