Aug. 21, 2009, midnight
Senators voted 56 to two last week to authorize a referendum on whether President Alvaro URIBE should be allowed to seek a third term in 2010. Arguing the possible referendum is unconstitutional, opposition Senators boycotted last week’s vote. The Senate in May had passed a similar bill 62 to 5, but the House of Representatives passed a different version. A bicameral reconciliation committee organized in June sent the present bill to the Senate on August 18. According to a member of the House, URIBE’S supporters need 84 votes to get the bill through that chamber this time. URIBE won reelection in 2006 after Congress increased term limits from one to two terms.