Latin America: Colombia After Uribe

Issue Date January 2011
Volume 22
Issue 1
Page Numbers 137-151
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Often thought of as a “nascent” democracy, Colombia actually has longstanding democratic institutions, the effectiveness of which was highlighted by the Constitutional Court’s 26 February 2010 decision to reject a proposed referendum meant to allow President Alvaro Uribe to run for a third consecutive term. Without institutions such as the Constitutional Court, the populist push for a referendum that would have threatened the separation of powers and evinced scant respect for law would have prevailed. Instead, Colombian democracy emerged strengthened, and showed further vigor during the presidential contest that followed soon thereafter. As democratization studies take a “historical turn,” Colombia may have more lessons to offer.