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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 November 2005, 00:47 GMT
Colombian leader cleared for poll
Alvaro Uribe
Mr Uribe's hardline stance on security has won him support
Colombia's Constitutional Court has cleared the way for President Alvaro Uribe to stand for re-election in 2006.

Last month, the court ruled that presidents could seek a second term, but there was concern about their abuse of the office when campaigning.

The court has now endorsed rules for incumbents seeking re-election, which say the president is the only member of government who can actively campaign.

Opinion polls make the conservative Mr Uribe a clear favourite.

He says he needs four more years in office to implement his tough policies against armed groups and drug-traffickers.

Fears of violence

The court decided that a law which set out rules for sitting presidents running for re-election was constitutional, the court's chief said.

Mr Uribe had argued for a change in the re-election law, but opponents said that allowing re-election would give presidents too much power.

Correspondents say there are fears that left-wing guerrillas, who are desperate to avert another four years of Mr Uribe, will escalate a campaign of violence.

Mr Uribe is one of Washington's strongest allies in South America, where many governments have recently shifted to the left.


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