Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Amid Criticism, Santos Withdraws Two-year Re-Election Bid



On Monday, after three days of severe disapproval, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ruled out his proposal to run for re-election in 2014 only to serve for two more years—half the usual term—and amend the constitution to extend the presidential term limit to six years. “Four years are not enough to finish the job, he said.  

The Colombian constitution currently allows incumbents to seek re-election for a consecutive four-year period. The bill submitted on Friday would extend term limits to allow presidents to serve for six years—but with no possibility of re-election—to give leaders more time to accomplish their government plans. The bill also extended the six-year term limits for mayors, governors and legislators to align the ruling terms of all elected officials in Colombia.

Santos, who came to power in August 2010, expressed that under no circumstances he would present a bill to congress that would cause more divisions among the ruling political parties. He also clarified that his proposal has nothing to do with the ongoing peace process between his government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) which began in November 2012.

The president, however, did not rule out the possibility of running for re-election in May 2014, but faces decreasing popularity.  According to a poll released on Monday by Colombian firm Ipsos Napoleón Franco, Santos’s popularity has plummeted to 47 percent and only 39 percent of Colombians favor the president’s re-election.

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