Dec 17 (Reuters) - Colombian President Alvaro Uribe appears less likely to run for re-election in 2010 after the full House of Congress on Wednesday rejected an amendment that would have opened the door to a third immediate term.
The bill approves a referendum to ask voters if they want Uribe, a U.S. ally popular for his crackdown on leftist rebels, to be allowed to run in 2014 after skipping a term in office.
The Senate will vote on the measure next year and it will be subject to judicial review. Uribe supporters are expected to keep looking for ways to amend the bill for a possible 2010 campaign.
Here are some alternatives - both allies and foes of the president -- who might run if Uribe does not:
JUAN MANUEL SANTOS - Colombia’s high-profile defense minister and Uribe ally, Santos is often touted as the most likely successor. His link to the successful security campaign against FARC rebels and experience in cabinet could make him a favorite. But some analysts believe he lacks charisma and a connection with the electorate.
SERGIO FAJARDO - Young, former mayor of Medellin who studied mathematics at a U.S. university, Fajardo is popular in that city. After he left the mayoralty, he briefly joined a national radio station as a commentator which raised his profile. The teacher-turned-politician recently figured highly in a poll of public figures, but he is neither aligned or opposed to Uribe.
GERMAN VARGAS LLERAS - A former senator and leading member of the Cambio Radical party, Vargas Lleras was among those mentioned by Uribe as a possible standard-bearer for his policies.
NOEMI SANIN - A two-time former presidential candidate, Sanin is Colombia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. During a business forum recently, Uribe said he believes she is one of the most “competent” supporters of his policies.
INGRID BETANCOURT - A former FARC guerrilla hostage rescued in July after six years in jungle captivity, Betancourt is a former presidential candidate and senator who presented herself as a crusader against drug corruption. While dual French-Colombian citizen Betancourt has not ruled out a run for the presidency, she may prefer to work for an international group helping kidnap victims.
LUIS EDUARDO GARZON - A former Bogota mayor from the leftist opposition party Democratic Pole, Garzon has been named as one of the opposition’s hopes for 2010. His term as mayor was followed by another win for his party in the capital. He has reached across party lines to the Liberal party to seek a coalition to counter another possible Uribe presidential term.
CARLOS HOLGUIN - Leading member of the Conservative Party who served as Uribe’s justice minister until July this year. A strong Uribe ally, Holguin has toyed with the idea of a presidential run. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Patrick Markey in Bogota)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.