Following up on yesterday’s post: Colombia’s House of Representatives did not vote last night on the re-election referendum bill. They adjourned near midnight after 92 of the body’s 166 members recused themselves from the vote.
The main reason was that 86 of them were already under investigation by Colombia’s Supreme Court for the crime of “prevaricato” – roughly, acting against legal procedure. Several months ago, these 86 voted in favor of the referendum before they were legally allowed to do so, as Colombia’s governmental Registry had not yet approved the signatures on the public petitions that made the vote legally possible.
As a result, the chamber spent its session yesterday considering each recusal request individually, and the vote never occurred. It may occur tonight, as the House is convening again this afternoon.
El Tiempo indicates that when the vote does occur, the referendum to allow President Uribe to seek immediate re-election is likely to be approved.
While it was not possible to pass the law, from the first moments it was more or less clear that the necessary votes were in place.
The first sign was the body’s refusal to approve a request from Rep. Guillermo Rivera to exclude the issue from the day’s agenda. The request was denied by a 93-42 vote.
One way to interpret this, as several congresspeople said, is that it indicated that the 93 representatives who refused to approve Rivera’s proposal are the same ones who want to vote in favor of the referendum.