Yesterday the Colombian Constitutional Court has approved the immediate presidential the re-election, which implies that present president Alvaro Uribe VÃ©lez, can be a candidate for the presidential elections of the 2006.
This produces me joy and preoccupation at the same time.
The good thing is that the present president has great acceptance rating in the country. During his mandate he has maintained popularity index around 60-70% being the highest for a Colombian president in many years. He has highest index at the moment in Latin America where there are cases like president Toledo in Peru with a 6%. So I think it is good that a popular president stays in the government. Another reason is that the policies of security of the present government, have managed to reduce the high indexes of criminality, insecurity, drug trafficking and violence that affected the country for many years. The electoral period in Colombia is only 4 years which is insufficient compared with the 40 years that the guerrillas have been around. Thus a period of 8 years can at least be more beneficial.
In general Colombia is better today than for 4 years. People’s confidence in the country is back. Foreign investors are looking back at Colombia. It is not common anymore to see Colombians leaving the country because of the violence. And if we can be better than today in 4 years, wonderful!
The goals for president Uribe, if he gets reelected, must be: total disarmament of armed groups (guerrilla and paramilitary) and eradication of the drug trafficking. If this happens, it is possible to think of electing a more humanist and philanthropic president for the next period. Somebody like Antanas Mokus.
But I also believe that approving re-election is a bad thing. I consider that Colombian democracy is not sufficiently mature to assume the challenges that a re-election implies. Reelect Uribe today is good. But what if AndrÃ©s Pastrana or Ernesto Samper has had a chance to be candidates for re-election in their time? What if a bad president has the political and economic machinery necessary to win a re-election? Does this sound familiar to you? (U.S.A.)
I also don’t like the example that Uribe is giving with the whole re-election process. Basically he demonstrated that any president can modify the constitution of the country for his own benefit.
It’s already too late and the re-election has been approved. If it had been up to me I would have done things differently. The president Uribe from the beginning of his mandate should have look for his successor. Somebody who keeps the same line of thought. Somebody with his character and determination. And make sure that Colombians understand that this person would continue the processes and projects initiated in his period. Basically Uribe needed to look for another Uribe different than himself. Worse case if he cannot find another Uribe he could have chosen a puppet as president with him being the puppeteer and publicly recognize it so that people supported his puppet knowing that the president was really him.
But there is nothing to do now. The damage to the constitution is already done so I hope that Uribe gets reelected; that way all this wasn’t done in vain.