Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | April 25, 2013

Recent Colombian presidents act to change the Constitution when it suits them.

Why do recent Colombian presidents think they can change the Constitution when it suits them, depending on how long they wish to stay in office?

First, in 2004, President Alvaro Uribe pushed for re-election for a second term, which was not possible before under the country’s 1991 Constitution. In 2005, the Colombian Constitutional Court approved an amendment to allow presidential re-election, and the constitutional reform gave Uribe, then the current president, the green light to run for re-election in May 2006.

In the last few weeks, President Juan Manuel Santos played with the idea of a re-election, but only if he could stay in office for two more years, half the usual term. Santos also proposed that from 2016 onwards, the presidential term should be extended to six years and that a president’s right to stand for re-election should be scrapped. His idea was not well received, and he has since withdrawn the proposal.

Colombian presidents are exercising buffet-style democracy — calling for democracy when it suits them and changing the rules when it doesn’t. The move is quite unsettling.


60% of Colombians against President Santos re-election.

Colombian Court Blocks President’s Bid for a Third Term.

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