INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Court Approves Electoral Guarantees Law; No

Published: Wed 16 Nov 2005 02:46 PM
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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161446Z NOV 05
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9688
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 6743
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV LIMA 2898
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 3417
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3317
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
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RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
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UNCLAS BOGOTA 010686
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR CO
SUBJECT: COURT APPROVES ELECTORAL GUARANTEES LAW; NO
HURDLES REMAIN TO URIBE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY
REF: A. BOGOTA 10497
B. BOGOTA 9896
C. BOGOTA 4467
Sensitive but unclassified. Not for Internet distribution.
1. (U) Summary: As expected, the Constitutional Court
approved the electoral guarantees law, the final remaining
legal hurdle to President Uribe's running in the May 28, 2006
presidential election. The Court made some changes to the
original law, toughening campaign finance rules and limiting
the incumbent's use of public television and institutional
resources. Uribe must register his candidacy by November 28.
End Summary.
2. (U) The Court approved the electoral guarantees law
November 11, which sets out "rules of the game" for
incumbents seeking second terms. It made several
modifications to the law, cognizant of Constitutional wording
calling for equality of political opportunity for all parties
and individuals. The most important elements of the law are
(see also Ref C, which provided an overview of federal
electoral issues):
--GOC employees may join political parties but may not
participate in campaign activities;
--A challenger is to be given free media "response" time if
the National Electoral Council determines that the incumbent
made a derogatory statement about the challenger;
--Individuals alone may make campaign contributions;
corporations and other legal entities may not;
--The overall campaign spending limit for challengers is
approximately USD $6.2 million; for an incumbent,
approximately USD $ 4.4 million; and
--As of November 28, the President's weekly community council
meetings may not be televised and partisan events/activities
may not take place in the Presidential Palace, Casa Narino.
3. (SBU) Comment: While Uribe has not formally announced
his intention to run, he is all but certain to do so. He
will be the odds-on favorite. Opposition reaction to this
latest Court ruling was positive but relatively muted.
DRUCKER
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