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Colombians vote for Senate and House lawmakers

March 14, 2010 - COLOMBIA

Colombia votes for Senate and House of Representative members on Mar 14. President Alvaro Uribe's high approval rating in his country is likely to keep the three parties in the right-leaning governing coalition on top, but Uribe's bid for a third term as president and a growing spying scandal could cut into the top parties' numbers and help opposition parties increase their representation in the legislature.

Colombia votes for Senate and House of Representative members on Mar 14. President Alvaro Uribe's high approval rating in his country is likely to keep the three parties in the right-leaning governing coalition on top, but Uribe's bid for a third term as president and a growing spying scandal could cut into the top parties' lead and help opposition parties increase their representation in the legislature. The main parties contesting the election in the 102-seat Senate and 166-seat House of Representatives are the Colombian Conservative Party, Social National Unity Party, Radical Change, the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party. The first three comprise the governing coalition. In September, the lower house of Congress approved the final text of a law to call a referendum on changing the constitution to allow the president to run for a third consecutive term. The centrist Liberal Party and leftist Democratic Party, the main parties of the opposition, charge that Uribe is engaging in illegal maneuvers to remain in power. And the president is enmeshed in a scandal over growing evidence that his main intelligence agency carried out an extensive illegal spying operation focused on his leading critics, including members of the Supreme Court, opposition politicians, human rights workers and journalists. Both issues could cut into the main parties' lead without threatening the coalition's power -- unless the scandal begins producing embarrassing indictments. Sep/09

Closer to Uribe 3.0 (Economist 3 Sep 2009)

Scandal Over Spying Intensifies in Colombia (NYT 16 Sep 2009)

Date written/update: 2010-03-14