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Citizens sign petition against re-election referendum

posted by Kirsten Begg
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Hundreds of Colombian citizens have visited the Constitutional Court in Bogota to sign a petition protesting the re-election referendum designed to secure a third term in office for President Alvaro Uribe.

Many of the petitioners are part of a collective called Alianza Ciudadana, which denounces what it terms “the eight errors of the referendum”. The collective believes that the referendum is unconstitutional.

Augusto Ramirez Ocampo, one of the leaders of the collective, said his group wants to ensure that the Constitutional Court upholds its obligations to the Colombian people by finding the referendum unconstitutional.

Around 120 civil organizations are part of the collective, which began to collect signatures for the petition on Wednesday. Among them are 21 politicians who contributed to the writing of the 1991 Constitution.

One of the authors of the constitution, indigenous leader Lorenzo Muelas, invited “all Colombians to join us to avoid the modification of the constitution of this country in the interest of just one person, the President of the Republic,” El Espectador reported.

Other high profile Colombians are also involved in the collective, including actors Diego Trujillo, Carmenza Gomez and Alberto Valdiri and comedian Eduardo Arias.

The re-election referendum is being undertaken to decide whether Uribe should be able to run for his third consecutive term in office. Colombian law states that a president may not run for longer than one term.

The Constitutional Court is currently testing the referendum bill for its constitutionality.

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