Colombia bars presidents from seeking re-election

Colombia bars presidents from seeking re-election

[JURIST] Colombia’s Congress voted on Wednesday to limit presidents to a single term, a measure backed by President Juan Manuel Santos [official website, in Spanish]. The presidential term limit undoes a law passed by Santos’ predecessor and rival, Alvaro Uribe, and reverts to the term limits that were in place before 2005. Santos ran against his former mentor in 2010 and was re-elected last year but vowed to get rid of the constitutional reform passed under Uribe’s leadership. The measure passed amid strong opposition from the Democratic Center party, led by Uribe. Surveys show that more than 70 percent of Colombians disfavor [AP report] presidential re-elections due to abuse of power. Santos split from Uribe when Santos opened up talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) [JURIST backgrounder] in November 2012.

Santos has pushed for reform in Colombia during his tenure. In April the Colombian government modified proposed legislation that would have allowed an expansion of the military courts’ [JURIST report] jurisdiction and power. The modified bill now ensures that all human rights abuses will remain in the jurisdiction of civilian court, by limiting military courts jurisdiction to cover homicide, breaches of international humanitarian law and crimes against public security. In March Santos and FARC agreed that the military will work with the rebels to remove landmines [JURIST report] as well as any other explosives, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Colombia has become one of the most mined countries in the world after over 60 years of fighting between the two sides.