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Uribe wants a redo of the '06 presidential vote

June 28, 2008|From the Associated Press

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — President Alvaro Uribe has thrown Colombia into political turmoil after a Supreme Court decision questioning the legitimacy of his 2006 reelection led him to ask that voters have an opportunity to redo the vote.

Uribe said he would press Congress to approve a referendum asking voters whether they want to repeat the 2006 presidential election.

Sen. Hector Eli Rojas of the opposition Liberal Party accused Uribe of seeking the plebiscite as "an excuse for a third term."

Presidential spokesman Cesar Mauricio Velasquez said Friday that Uribe's "only interest is to confirm the legitimacy of his election" for the term that ends in 2010.

Uribe, who has a high approval rating, has declined to rule out seeking a third term, which would require a change in the constitution.

His announcement Thursday night came just hours after the Supreme Court questioned the legitimacy of the law that amended the constitution so he could run for a second term, suggesting that it had resulted from "criminal acts" in a bribery scandal involving some of Uribe's closest aides.

The court made its ruling in finding a former congresswoman, Yidis Medina, guilty of taking bribes to change her vote in 2004 to support the president's reelection bid. She was sentenced to 47 months.

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