Weekly Report - 3 July 2008 (ISSN 1741-7422)

Uribe calls for referendum to approve re-run of 2006 elections in Colombia

President Alvaro Uribe is calling for congress to approve a referendum on whether to restage the 2006 presidential elections. His shock announcement came after longstanding tension with the supreme court boiled over last week in the wake of the court's conviction of a former congresswoman for accepting bribes to vote in favour of a constitutional amendment in 2004 to permit Uribe to run for a second term in office. Uribe, who openly questioned the impartiality of the judges, said he had no choice but to call fresh elections to legitimise his tenure. The opposition accused him of setting up a populist dictatorship to circumvent Colombia's institutions.

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