Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (pictured) appeared to backtrack on controversial plans to run for a third term, describing a possible 2010 re-election bid as "inconvenient" and saying he did not want to seem "enamoured with power".
AFP - Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Thursday seemed to move away from controversial plans for a third consecutive term in office, saying that his potential 2010 bid would be "inconvenient."
Uribe made his statement as he answered a question at an economic forum in Bogota, just two days after the Colombian senate approved a referendum on a constitutional reform that would allow a president to run for a third consecutive term.
"I see it as inconvenient because it perpetuates the president, because the country has many good leaders," Uribe said, when asked about re-election plans.
"Personally, I would not want the bitterness of the new generations that could see me as someone who is enamored with power," Uribe said.
He added that he has been "a fighter for democracy," and was convinced that Colombia's democratic institutions "have strengthened in this government."
A source close to the presidency declined to confirm to AFP that Uribe would not run in the 2010 election.
The conservative Uribe, first elected in 2002, was easily re-elected in 2006 and remains popular -- he has a 68 percent approval rating, according to polls.
Uribe's statements also comes after Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, who oversaw operations to rescue Colombian-French hostage Ingrid Betancourt from leftist guerrillas, resigned on Monday eyeing a possible run at the presidency.
Santos, 57, said he would run in the 2010 election only if Uribe was not a candidate.
Opinion polls have put Santos ahead in the vote if Uribe is not a candidate.
Uribe's political opposition and some of his supporters, the majority in Colombia's legislature, have openly opposed reforming the constitution.
Date created : 2009-05-22