THIRD PRESIDENTIAL PERIOD (REELECTION)
In this case, the Court carried out the automatic control of constitutionality of the Law No. 1354 of 2009 “By means of which is convoked a constitutional referendum and is submitted for consideration of the people a constitutional reform project”, this exam was performed by virtue of the second numeral of the article 241 of the Political Constitution. The studied disposition contemplated in its first article the following text: “Who has been elected as President of the Republic for two constitutional periods could be elected only for an additional one: yes , no or blank vote”.
At the moment of embarking on the study of the disposition, the Court pointed out the scope of its competence, compelling both the procedure of the norm in the Congress and the one of the citizen’s legislative initiative. In this context, the normative parameter to effectuate the constitutional control was given by the Constitution, the Law No. 134 of 1994 (Statutory Law of Mechanisms of Citizen Participation), Law No. 130 of 1994 (Statutory Law of Parties and Political Movements) and the legal organic norms that regulated the legislative processes.
Aside from this, the Tribunal reiterated its jurisprudence relating the limits to the power of reform of the Constitution, insisting that the derived constitutional power has a competence to reform the Constitution, but no to substitute it. In that order, every change in the identity of the constitutional text involves a vice of competence for exceeding the power of reform. When reviewing the citizen’s legislative initiative that gave birth to the Law No. 1354 of 2009, the Court noticed a series of irregularities associated to the financing of the campaign. Those abnormalities configured a serious violation to the basic principles of a democratic system, such as the transparency and the political pluralism of the electorate. In relation to the vices in the legislative procedure, the Court noticed that the debates begun in the Congress without the certification of the National Registrar, previewed in the article 27 of the Statutory Law of Mechanisms of Participation. Another vice that took place was the modification of the original text in the third debate of the First Permanent Constitutional Commission of the Senate, exceeding the limitations that the principle of participative democracy imposes the legislative function that emanated from the citizens’ initiative.
The Tribunal also observed that the Plenary Chamber of Representatives gathered without the publication in the Official Diary of the Decree No. 4742, which convened extraordinary sessions of the Congress. Additional to this, this Court noticed that five representatives of the political party “Cambio Radical” voted against the intern directives subscribed and approved by them, opposing to what’s previewed in the article 105 and 133 of the Constitution.
In what is related to the vices of competence or excess in the exercise of the power of reform, the Court encountered that the law ignored some structural axes of the Constitution, such as the principle of separation of powers and the system of checks and balances, the right to equality and the abstract and general nature of the laws.
The mentioned vices constitute, not merely formal irregularities, but substantial violations to the democratic principle, therefore the law was declared unconstitutional.