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Referendum will become ‘superior law of public order’: Minister

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Colombia news - Fabio Valencia

Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe will be able to announce his candidacy whenever he wants and not be forced to do so before December despite laws to the contrary, Minister for the Interior Fabio Valencia said Monday.

Colombia’s Minister of the Interior, Fabio Valencia, said that if the re-election referendum law is passed, regardless of the date of completion, the law will become ‘a superior law of public order’ and President Uribe will be a candidate without other legal requirements.

In an interview with Caracol Radio, the Minister said that unlike what some may be speculating, the time to hold the referendum has not yet expired and in the case of it being approved, “it [becomes] a constitutional law of public order, which is timeless and a superior law, allowing this citizen [Uribe] to participate in the elections should he so choose.”

“If the people decide that a Colombian who has been elected once can be re-elected a second time, then that becomes a superior law.”

The President is constitutionally obliged to officially announce his candidacy before December.

Valencia said that it does not matter if the referendum takes place in March or later, but according to his accounts, everything should go normally. He said that if the people decide it is legal then that public policy law would not require different rules to permit the President to run as a candidate.

Valencia claimed that the government has not presented nor implemented a proposal on the electoral roll regarding the financing of campaigns for the presidency or the time limits of registration of the candidates.

According to the Minister, those that seek to misinform have spoken of that possibility in the discussion of the law regulating political reform, but that the government is taking no part in it nor the parties that are discussing the statory law, because it would not be inter alia of a constitutional reform.

For his part, Liberal Party presidential candidate, Rafael Pardo launched an attack against Valencia, saying that the government should uphold the Constitution and the law because that is what the President swore to do to the country, and not to invent a higher nonexistent law, reported Caracol Radio.

“That which Valencia is talking about is [very fitting for] his character, in that he will do everything possible, legal or not, to fulfil his purposes,” Pardo said.

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