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Cablegate: Constitutional Court Ruling Expected November 11

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0497 3112021
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 072021Z NOV 05
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9502
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 6729
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV LIMA 2887
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 3402
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3310

UNCLAS BOGOTA 010497

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV CO
SUBJECT: CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING EXPECTED NOVEMBER 11
ON GUARANTEES LAW


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Summary
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1. Colombia's Constitutional Court is expected to rule
Friday, November 11 on the Electoral Guarantees law, which
sets out the presidential campaign "rules of the game" for
incumbents seeking second terms. A leading weekly newspaper,
which accurately predicted the Court's recent reelection
decision a month before it was issued, reported November 5
that the Court would uphold the Gurantees law by a vote of at
least 6-3; the paper's sources suggested the vote could be as
high as 8-1. Such a decision would be the final green light
President Uribe needs to run again in 2006. End summary.

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Court Ruling Expected November 11
---------------------------------

2. Court president Manuel Jose Cepeda said when announcing
the Court's reelection decsision October 19 that he expected
a ruling on the Electoral Guarantees law by November 11;
commentators, quoting Court sources, have reinforced Cepeda's
statement in recent days. The Court has various options
available to it: uphold the law; reject it as
unconstitutional; return it to the legislature for revisions;
or interpret it in a way that essentially rewrites the text
to ensure as level a playing field as possible for candidates
running against an incumbent president.

---------------------------------
Attorney General Strongly Opposed
---------------------------------

3. Attorney General (Procurador General de la Nacion)
Edgardo Maya argued in a written submission to the Court that
the law suffered from a large number of defects, some of a
constitutional nature. He suggested the Court declare
certain sections of the law unconstitutional and return the
law to the legislature to correct a larger number of
"curable" deficiencies. The Court largely ignored Maya's
submission against reelection in the run-up to its October 19
decision in favor.

---------------------------------------------
Leading Weekly Predicts Court Will Uphold Law
---------------------------------------------

4. The weekly "El Espectador" newspaper predicted November 5
that the Court would rule by a vote of at least 6-3 that the
law was constitutional. The paper suggested the Court would
address the law's substance and essentially interpret unclear
sections in a manner favorable to candidates challenging an
incumbent president, thus avoiding the need to return the law
to the legislature for additional work (which could prove
awkward for reasons of timing). The paper, which accurately
predicted the Court's October 19 reelection decision, said
two judges that it counts as negative votes could vote with
the majority, which would result in an 8-1 decision to uphold
the law. Such a ruling would be the final green light Uribe
needs to put his name on the ballot for the May 2006
presidential race.

5. COMMENT: Most legal analysts and political pundits assume
a favorable decision. While likely, the Court has made
surprising decisions in the past. As in the days prior to
the decision on reelection, Court sources remain tight-lipped
about a final outcome.
WOOD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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