Will Colombia’s president Álvaro Uribe run for presidency again or will he not? The moment of truth is approaching and mr. Uribe’s apparent desinterest seems to be changing into nervousness.
Mr. Uribe started his presidential career in 2002 after an overwhelming victory already in the first round. His promise to finish for ever with the guerrilla, that was causing so much terror in the country, attracted many voters.
Presidency tasted good and mr. Uribe felt he couldn’t leave his job after 4 years. A change in Colombia’s Constitution was necessary to make it possible for him to run for presidency a second time. The president reached his goal and again he was chosen in the first round. But soon after his inauguration the ‘yidispolitica’ scandal began. Congress woman Yidis Medina confessed to the tv-station Noticias Uno she had sold her vote in order to vote for mr. Uribe’s reelection. The consequences of ms. Medina ‘s confession were sour for her. She is in jail for selling her vote, but the ones who bought it seem to have saved themselves (for now?).
Strangely enough this doesn’t have seemed to have afftected mr. Uribe’s position. Nor have the famous illegal wire taps of opposition members, journalists and human rights defenders, which have put in trouble a great amount of (former) employees of the intelligence service DAS. Nor has the fuss about an action of some of mr. Uribe’s supporters to gather signatures for a referendum to make a second reelection possible. Because this signature gathering action also is questioned. And never the president has to respond. He managed to stay out of the referendum fuss and keep his image more or less clean.
Now however he seems to have changed his attitude. He is urging to vote the referendum and keep the thing going. Otherwise he will be late. Because…. another change in Constitution is necessary. First the referendum has to be voted AND approved of course. Then the people have to vote in the referendum and then depending how everything ends, mr. Uribe can run again.
This is not as easy as the first time. Because in his coalition people are getting a little tired of supporting the president: his job is attractive to them as well. Some have left the coalition, like former Defense Secretary and senator Marta Lucía Ramírez, and others are ‘patiently’ waiting what happens, like the also former Defense Secretary Juan Manuel Santos. He will only run, if mr. Uribe doesn’t. But like his former boss, mr. Santos is dying to be president.
What will the Uribe coalition do and if the referendum is approved, will another Yidis Medina rise to confess she sold her vote? In this country everything is possible. One thing is clear: this last year of mr. Uribe’s government will be very interesting, because many ‘precandidates’ for presidency are sharping their knives. Even if mr. Uribe runs, it is not sure he will win. Will the president manage to keep his image clear now that he is openly showing an interest in his reelection?